Haskell of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers

Haskell of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers

Haskell of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers

Haskell of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers

Excerpt

A century and a quarter after the battle of Gettysburg, the Kent State University Press is republishing the classic description of the biggest battle yet fought in North America. Some eighteen years ago, I completed the editing of Frank A. Haskell's eyewitness account of that engagement. Then the principal justification for offering to readers another work on Gettysburg was that no previous publication of Haskell's excellent essay had fully and accurately reproduced the original manuscript. Moreover, Haskell had also left behind letters with valuable material on such other Civil War battles as Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Bristoe Station; these together with a biographical sketch would supplement Haskell's most important piece of battle prose. Though at the time of this book's original publication Gettysburg was already the subject of more printed words than any other battle in America's most studied war, interest has continued in the great battle and in the Civil War. Some discussion of how that persistent interest has affected the fame of Gettysburg might be of interest to readers.

Anyone inclined to doubt the continuing American fascination with the Civil War should pay attention to the increase of groups devoted to its reenactment. Since the war's centennial, these organizations have become more numerous and more scholarly in their approach to their avocation. As a result, the one hundred-twenty-fifth anniversary of the Civil War found many men and women prepared not only to reproduce company encampments and drills but even to represent a semblance of a major battle. Because of its size and reputation as a turning point, Gettysburg inevitably became the climax of this move-

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