Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership

Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership

Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership

Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership

Synopsis

No Civil War military campaign has inspired as much controversy about leadership as has Gettysburg. The contributors to this volume believe there is room for scholarship that revisits the sources on which earlier accounts have been based and challenges prevailing interpretations of key officer's performances. They have trained their investigative lens on some obvious and some relatively neglected figures, with an eye toward illuminating not only what happened at Gettysburg but also the nature of command at different levels.

Excerpt

This book BRINGS TO COMPLETION A PROJECT BEGUN in 1992. The First Day at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership appeared that year, followed in 1993 by The Second Day at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership. A third volume covering July 3, 1863, which was to have been published soon after the second book, languished because of my tendency to take on too many commitments. After the passage of several years and reflection about how best to present material on the battle's third day following so long a hiatus, I proposed offering in a single volume the nine original essays together with four new ones devoted to leadership on July 3. John T. Hubbell at The Kent State University Press, exhibiting admirable patience regarding this project, agreed that a single book covering the entire battle made sense. The result is Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership.

No Civil War military campaign has inspired as much controversy relating to leadership as Gettysburg. The debates began almost immediately after the battle, and they continue today. After the war, Confederates engaged in fierce arguments over who was to blame for their defeat. Following the lead of Lost Cause writers who sought to absolve Lee of all responsibility (Lee himself had taken full responsibility during the war), most white Southerners fixed on James Longstreet as their principal villain. For his part, Longstreet suggested that Lee's actions invited critical scrutiny. Less vitriolic discussion focused on the actions of Richard S. Ewell and A. P. Hill, Lee's other two corps commanders, as well as on cavalry chief James E. B. Stuart, division leader Jubal A. Early, and various others. On the Union side, supporters of the Army of the Potomac's commander George G. Meade and Third Corps chief Daniel E. Sickles waged a bitter battle of words about events on July 2. Northern veterans also wrangled aboutwho should receive credit for establishing the splendid defensive position on high ground . . .

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