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Detailed Account of the Fighting at Culp's and Cemetery Hill
on May 27, 2005
Pfanz' final book in his trilogy of Gettysburg covers a relatively forgotten area of the Battle of Gettysburg. Granted, while I have visited Culp's and Cemetery Hill during each of my Gettysburg visits, I tended to spend most of my time around the second day's fighting (Little Round Top, Devil's Den, Wheatfield, Rose Farm and Woods, Peach Orchard, Trostle Farm) and Pickett's Charge. Pfanz has done the public a great service by providing a book of the actions around Culp's and Cemetery Hill. Indeed, no one probably knows more about Gettysburg than Pfanz.
As usual, he provides sometimes overwhelming details of the actions. His narrative is interesting and I enjoyed reading anecdotes of the main characters (Greene, Steuart, Howard, Meade, Ewell, Early, etc.). Pfanz describes terrain features, battle participants, battle actions, and other details like only he can.
However, there is one sticking point that I have noticed in other Civil War books and have noted in other reviews - there simply are not enough maps. While the maps provided are of excellent detail and contain helpful summaries of the actions represented in the maps, there could have been at least 10 more. I believe there are about 15 maps in the book - there easily could have been 25. I say this because of Pfanz' attention to detail - having more maps to support the battle actions would have made it easier for me to follow the actions. On more than one occasion I was bug-eyed trying to follow what Pfanz was describing!
I am certainly not a military expert (although I am an ex-Air Force Officer) nor an armchair general. I simply enjoy reading more about the heroic actions of soldiers on both sides during a tragic period of our great nation's history.
Complaint aside, I highly recommend Pfanz' title as the definitive account of Culp's and Cemetery Hill. Read, enjoy, and be prepared to follow the large amount of detail - you will need to put on your thinking cap for this and the other Pfanz titles!