An award-winning historical study of the important role played by Union and Confederate horse soldiers on the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg.
The Union army’s victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863, is widely considered to have been the turning point in America’s War between the States. But the valuable contributions of the mounted troops, both Northern and Rebel, in the decisive three-day conflict have gone largely unrecognized. Acclaimed Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg now gives the cavalries their proper due.
In Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, Wittenberg explores three important mounted engagements undertaken during the battle and how they influenced the final outcome. The courageous but doomed response by Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth’s cavalry brigade in the wake of Pickett’s Charge is recreated in fascinating detail, revealing the fatal flaws in the general’s plan to lead his riders against entrenched Confederate infantry and artillery. The tenacious assault led by Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt on South Cavalry Field is also examined, as is the strategic victory at Fairfield by Southern troops that nearly destroyed the Sixth US Cavalry and left Hagerstown Road open, enabling General Lee’s eventual retreat.
Winner of the prestigious Bachelder-Coddington Award for historical works concerning the Battle of Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg’s Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions rights a long-standing wrong by lifting these all-important engagements out of obscurity. A must-read for Civil War buffs everywhere, it completes the story of the battle that changed American history forever.