USING VISIBILITY ANALYSIS OF LIDAR DATA TO MODEL LETHALITY OF CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD TROOP POSITIONS
The first phase of this analysis focuses on visibility and available firepower from relatively static unfortified defensive positions that dealt heavy casualties to attacking forces. Examples include Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg Pennsylvania (July 3, 1863) and Donelson’s Confederate attack at Perryville Kentucky (October 8 1862). The analysis incorporates landscape visibility from the perspective of a standing soldier, the range of available weapons, and the quantity and location of available weapons. Atmospheric visibility (ie. fog or battlefield smoke) is not incorporated in this analysis, nor are the human factors of accuracy or diminishing intensity of fire as casualties accumulate. A major limitation of this analysis is that the accuracy of the terrain model exceeds the precise knowledge of specific historic troop or gun locations. However, this analysis can be used iteratively to infer the optimum placement of cannon or infantry units, on the (not always justified) assumption that experienced commanders should have intuitively placed their forces on the terrain to achieve maximum impact on attackers.