Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Retreat from Gettysburg

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Retreat from Gettysburg

Article excerpt

Retreat from Gettysburg, by Kent Masterson Brown. North Carolina, April 2005. $34.95

For those who are interested in the battle of Gettysburg and its repercussions, Brown provides a well-researched account of Lee's withdrawal. His access to the official military records allows him to raise the interesting point that, although the battle might have been a tactical defeat for the Army of Northern Virginia, at the operational level, they withdrew from Pennsylvania with an enormous quantity of supplies that allowed them to continue to fight throughout the summer of 1863.

That being said, the two biggest shortcomings of the book are the poor quality of the maps-which are presented with black terrain features and gray bars to represent units-and the overwhelming minutiae provided without a clear thematic framework. Books about battles-or, in this case, their aftermath-are critically dependent on having good maps to depict the battle space and using proper icons to indicate the sizes and types of units as well as their locations. Better-designed maps placed at the beginning of each chapter would have helped clarify the movements of the various units throughout the ten-day operation. The book also appears to be intended for Civil War buffs who are extremely familiar with that era and the war itself. …

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