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Gettysburg: The Meade-Sickles Controversy (Military Controversies) Hardcover – January 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This well-researched book is a significant contribution to the historiography of the Battle of Gettysburg." --THE JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY

About the Author

Richard A. Sauers, Ph.D., has written numerous books on the Civil War including Meade: Victor at Gettysburg, Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battleflags, The Civil War Journal of Colonel William J. Bolton, and How to Do Civil War Research
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Product Details

  • Series: Military Controversies
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books; 1 edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574884883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574884883
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
At the conclusion of the first day (July 1, 1863) of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army had established a strong position on the heights of Cemetery Hill northeast of Gettysburg. The Union commander, General George Meade, arrived at Gettysburg late in the evening and walked the length of Cemetery Ridge, which together with the heights became the Union position. He placed the second corps of the Union Army adjacent to Cemetery Hill heading southward on Cemetery Ridge and ordered the Third Corps, commanded by General Dan Sickles, to place itself on the Second Corps' left and extend the line to the hill now famous as Little Round Top.

General Sickles was the only non-professional Corps commander in the Army. Rather than acting in accordance with the intent of General Meade Sickles moved his Third Corps about 3/4 mile in front of the line General Meade intended for him. Sickles's line had its focus at the Peach Orchard and left Little Round Top uncovered. Sickles's line was well in front of and isolated from the main Union force. At 4:00 the Confederate First Corps under Longstreet attacked Sickles with great fury. Meade sent reinforcements. The Third Corps line was destroyed. The Union position on Cemetery Ridge waivered but survived intact.

The controversy that the above events provoked between Generals Meade and Sickles, their supporters, and generations of historians is the subject of Richard Sauers's study "Gettysburg: The Meade-Sickles Controversy" (2003). Sauers is a military historian and his written extensively on the Civil War. This book appears to be the first that focuses exclusively on the Meade-Sickles controversy and its aftermath.
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I have done some "hobbyist" research on Gettysburg as my great grandfather Sam McDowell served in the 63rd PA Volunteers under Sickles' command on the first and second days of the battle - and lived to return home. Sauer recounts how Sickles spent a lifetime confabulating a justification for his Peach Orchard screw-up on the second day of the battle; his mistakes nearly lost the battle for the Union. Yet because of the nasty politics revealed in Sauer's book we learn the truth which was for a long time obscured by Sickles' constant self-promotion long after Meade's death. This book is a must read for Civil War buffs, Gettysburg battle fans, and anyone who thinks today's nasty politics are a recent invention. For Sickles and Meade the real battle started AFTER the war. You will find some of those generals that look big as statues were in fact rather small-minded petty men in real life. Fascinating.
Well researched and well-written; couldn't put it down!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent study of a controversy that has greatly influenced our understanding of the battle. Mr. Sauers goes into great depth about the personality conflict between George Meade and Dan Sickles. You probably should have some basic understanding of the battle before you read it, but if you do it is well worth a read. If you want to know Gettysburg its a must have.
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