May 22, 2018
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Bangor High geography students to map Maine’s role in the Civil War

By Brian Swartz, Of The Weekly Staff

BANGOR — Twenty-six Bangor High School students are mapping Maine’s — and particularly Bangor’s — involvement in the Civil War.

According to Margaret Chernosky, a BHS world geography teacher, sophomores “and a scattering of 12th graders” are collaborating in a joint effort with the Bangor Public Library and the Bangor Museum and Center for History to develop digitized maps that detail specific Civil War-era topics.

The project, which kicked off prior to International GIS Day on Nov. 16, follows a similar project that Chernosky’s students developed last year about the 1911 Bangor fire. For that project, students researched government documents (including the 1910 Bangor census) and other sources to create full-color, highly informative maps that incorporated graphics, photos, smaller maps, and detailed narratives.

The maps were created with geographic information systems, then exported to Power Point. Each two-student team concluded its research by creating a 34-by-22-inch full-color electronic poster in Power Point. These posters were later printed for the Bangor Museum and Center for History.

The posters conveyed historic information previously scattered between many locations. The Civil War project, too, will pull together information available from diverse sources, from federal and state databases to private Web sites to wartime maps, Bangor Public Library records, regimental rosters, the Bangor City Directory, and even the 1860 Bangor census. Many sources are available online; others are not.

“The Civil War mapping project will teach students valuable mapping skills,” Chernosky said. Students will learn how to create maps with GIS. They also “will learn about geographic inquiry, about finding sources and gleaning information [from them]. The students ask a question, they acquire the raw data, and they map it,” she said.

“We are taking a close look at Maine’s involvement and Bangor’s involvement in the Civil War,” Chernosky said. “This is the [war’s] sesquicentennial; what better time is there than to learn about how much the war affected people living in Maine?”

During the next few months, Chernosky’s students will research and develop maps detailing:

• Maine’s Civil War monuments, such as the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment monument at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor to the Civil War monument in Locust Grove Cemetery in Hampden;

• The Maine cemeteries where Civil War veterans are buried;

• The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment;

• The 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment, which mustered in Bangor;

• The 20th Maine Infantry Regiment;

• Wartime-related activities and locations in Bangor, such as the city arsenal, Norumbega Hall, and businesses involved in defense-related manufacturing;

• The Roll of Honor for Bangor men killed during the war;

• Penobscot County women involved in supporting the war effort;

• How the war affected Corinth, which was a small village during the 1860s;

• Maine’s involvement in the war at sea;

• The Penobscot Nation soldiers who fought for the Union, particularly those men belonging to the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment.

According to Chernosky, the students “will probably finish [the project] around the end of January to mid-February [2012]. We hope to share it with the community” in conjunction “with the Bangor Museum and Center for History.”

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