The Civil War historian “paints a fine-grained portrait of the decisive battle” in an “exhaustive, engrossing study” of each brigade unit’s point of view (Publishers Weekly).
In Brigades of Gettysburg, Civil War historian Bradley M. Gottfried offers an important new perspective on one of the most studied battles in American history. With extensive use of first-hand accounts from officers and enlisted men, Gottfried presents an on-the-ground view of the conflict from each Brigade unit involved.
Brigades of Gettysburg is organized by order of battle and covers each brigade in scrupulous detail: where it fought, who commanded, who made up the unit, and how it performed in battle. “In vividly written narratives,” Gottfried recreates the grueling conditions, personality conflicts, day-to-day tedium and horrific combat of this fateful three-day conflict. What emerges is “a perspective close to that of the soldiers, who had no grand overview to help them make sense of the unfolding battle” (Publishers Weekly).
Gottfried (Roads to Gettysburg) paints a fine-grained portrait of the decisive battle of the Civil War in this exhaustive, engrossing study. In vividly written narratives that draw heavily on first-hand accounts of the fighting, he recounts every brigade's training and prior history in combat, profiles its commanders and chronicles its experiences in the course of the battle. The conflict emerges less as a coherent whole than as a series of small, disjointed brigade-level actions-a perspective close to that of the soldiers, who had no grand overview to help them make sense of the unfolding battle. The result is a human-scale view of the varied experiences of the participants: the grueling marches, the effects of heat and exhaustion, which sometimes felled more soldiers than enemy bullets did, the occasionally prickly relations between officers and men, the tedium and anxiety as soldiers waited to go into action and the panic and elation when they did. Gottfried's treatment has its limitations: it is hard to follow the main "plot" of the battle, since no brigade witnessed more than a fragment of it, and the fine maps of individual battlefield sectors should have been supplemented with an overall map to orient readers. Those unfamiliar with the battle will need to consult a conventional history, but Civil War buffs will delight in this gripping addition to the literature of Gettysburg.