Union Army Data and the Historical Urban Ecological GIS Data Set

Civil War Book Review (CWBR)      Tom Barber, Editor's picture

At the Southern Historical Association’s 2016 meeting, as I shambled by booksellers—sluggish from both a lack of coffee and a need for more coffee—I encountered a table about Union Army Data and the Historical Urban Ecological GIS Data Set. Though the website (http://uadata.org/) indicates that Robert W. Fogel initiated the project through a 1992 grant, it remained under my radar until the SHA meeting.  

So I must ask:

Has anyone done much work with this material? If not why?

Would anyone be interested in using the data?

Can anyone think of what projects could best use these materials?

I ask because I’d like for the Civil War Book Review to host a multipart series on these materials, which tackles the above questions (or the more provocative questions brought to my attention by readers like you).

As some of you know, CWBR’s feature essays are largely informal affairs meant to stimulate creative discussion, without some of the conventional parameters (word count, specialization, time, etc.) that normally encumber conversations in other contexts.

Finally, if anyone used this material in a classroom setting, I think their results would also make for a valuable essay.

Reply here, or contact me directly at tbarbe6@lsu.edu

I've worked with this material, which I believe is an invaluable source on ordinary soldiers, especially because it allows you to trace veterans over decades via their pension rolls. I think it's a shame that historians haven't made more use of it (so far its mostly been economists and demographers).

However I found that it couldn't be used to look at geographic variation in African American enlistment in the South (my interest) since their sample is slightly biased towards recruits from the North and is not exactly random. With their help I thus started a project of crowd-sourcing the transcription of all the USCT here: www.usct.cc

It's only been going for 4 days and we've already transcribed 5,488 records!

Best,
John Clegg