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Chancellorsville has app
Fredericksburg historian is 'heart and soul' of brand-new iPhone/iPad app for Battle of Chancellorsville

 Civil War Trust web guru Rob Shenk (left) and historian Robert K. Krick try out the new Chancellorsville battle app outside Chancellorsville Visitor Center in Spotsylvania.
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Date published: 11/22/2011


For an internationally known historian, Robert K. Krick keeps a low profile.

He eschews social media, prefers the printed word to e-books and generally avoids the limelight.

But Krick, who lives in Fredericksburg, has gone all digital, trendy, hip and 21st century, as of yesterday.

Deny it he might, but this South-centric scholar is the star of the latest multimedia smartphone "battle app" for some of the nation's premier Civil War battlefields.

Download the app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and you quickly encounter Krick's visage and voice in one of the program's many on-board "historian in your pocket" videos.

And he's not merely eye candy; Krick wrote the bulk of the app's script, shared his decades of research and pointed the developers toward treasures tucked away in federal archives.

The Civil War Trust and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton announced the app's launch yesterday during a press conference on the battlefield in Spotsylvania County.

"Our goal is to make the study of history dynamic and immersive, helping it appeal to a whole new generation of Americans," trust President Jim Lighthizer said during remarks at the Chancellorsville Visitor Center.

Connaughton said he and Gov. Bob McDonnell believe that the apps will help draw more visitors to Virginia's battlefields and bolster local economies.

Using federal "transportation enhancement" grants, Virginia--the most fought-over state of any in the war--is committed to funding production of 10 apps during the Civil War's 150th anniversary, he said.

Next up are an Android version of the popular Bull Run app, then ones for the Malvern Hill battlefield near Richmond, Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley, and Petersburg, trust spokesman Mary Koik said.

Battle apps for Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and Manassas/Bull Run are available via Apple's App Store and iTunes. They're free, and have been featured by Apple, which is picky about which apps it spotlights.

More than 30,000 of the battle apps have been downloaded by people all over the country, and world.

Next year will bring an app for the Wilderness battlefield in Orange and Spotsylvania counties.

Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, said the applications appeal both to first-time park visitors and regular "battlefield ramblers."

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