Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Vintage Civil War Library)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Winner of the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History
An Economist Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
The Battle of Gettysburg has been written about at length and thoroughly dissected in terms of strategic importance, but never before has a book taken readers so close to the experience of the individual soldier.
Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the stone walls and gunpowder clouds of Pickett’s Charge; the reason that the Army of Northern Virginia could be smelled before it could be seen; the march of thousands of men from the banks of the Rappahannock in Virginia to the Pennsylvania hills. What emerges is a previously untold story of army life in the Civil War: from the personal politics roiling the Union and Confederate officer ranks, to the peculiar character of artillery units. Through such scrutiny, one of history’s epic battles is given extraordinarily vivid new life.
cowardly conduct of others.” In the weeks after the battle, Posey would insist that he had actually been ordered by Anderson to send forward only “two of my regiments, and deploy them closely as skirmishers,” and use his other two regiments to eliminate the knot of Federal resistance clustered in the Bliss farm buildings. Whether or not Anderson intended that Posey treat the Bliss buildings as though they were Gettysburg’s equivalent of Hougoumont, Posey proceeded to behave that way. The Bliss
it,” which was surprising for “a man of Lee’s habitual reserve.” In time, descriptions of an epic confrontation between Lee and Stuart surfaced, mostly for the purpose of showing that Robert E. Lee himself pointedly held Stuart responsible for the Gettysburg battle. But there is no contemporary description of such a meeting, despite its inflation in subsequent retellings to a level with the return of the Prodigal Son. Although it is safe to say that Stuart may have reported directly to Lee after
the sun rose, dull and indifferent behind the translucent clouds, and the artillery Alpheus Williams had so carefully assembled broke out in a chorus of crashes, aimed at “Johnson’s troops, who were within the cover of the woods.” Skirmish fire on both sides spurted, and after fifteen minutes of shelling, the six regiments of Archibald MacDougall’s brigade “pressed forward” to clear the Confederates out of their precarious lodgment on the south peak. For their part, the Confederates had not
Bingham. Hancock is “an old and valued friend,” Armistead said. Tell him, Armistead continued, “that I have done him and you all an injury which I shall repent the longest day of my life.”26 It would have sharpened his repentence immeasurably if Armistead had known that, only a few minutes before, Hancock had joined the wounded himself. Riding down to rally Hall’s and Stannard’s brigades, Hancock was hit in the right thigh by a bullet that drilled through the pommel of his saddle and drove
combatants, but an epidemic of petty theft, happy-go-lucky foraging, and a general spirit of carnival whenever the volunteers felt like it. They learned to let the admonitions of the professionals at headquarters go in one ear and out the other, and it was no different a decade and a half later. “Whenever we stop for twenty-four hours,” wrote one horrified Confederate medical officer in the 13th South Carolina, “every corn field and orchard within two or three miles is completely stripped. The