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Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign (Civil War America) Hardcover – April 11, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0807829219 ISBN-10: 0807829218 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st edition (April 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807829218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807829219
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"There is nothing in a title which promises to be more deadening than the word logistics. And if that is the conclusion you draw about Retreat from Gettysburg, you could not have made a more egregious mistake. . . . Not only does Brown give a bravura survey of the internal mechanisms of the Confederate forces in the Gettysburg campaign, he also provides a moving entrance into the mind of [a] defeated army, trying to hold itself together, and find some way to escape and fight another day."--Allen C. Guelzo, The Barnes & Noble Review

"An immensely important read for anyone with a serious interest in the war."--The NYMAS Review

"Captures the reader from beginning to end. . . . Should be in the library of every serious student and scholar of Civil War history."--Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"A who's who of Civil War historiography."--West Virginia History

"The result of these years of research and contemplation is an original book that for the first time provides an overview of Lee's masterful retreat from his worst battlefield defeat. . . . [For] Gettysburg buffs, as well as those interested in military l

"Beyond being a great read, Retreat from Gettysburg is exceptionally well researched. . . . Such skillful use of these primary sources provides the reader with probably the best account to date of a Civil War army's retreat after a major battle."--

"Brown has broken new ground here in spectacular fashion."--James I. Robertson Jr., Roanoke Times

"Kent Brown offers a compelling story that heretofore has received only limited attention. . . . Everyone interested in the Civil War in general and the Gettysburg Campaign in particular will want to obtain a copy of Retreat from Gettysburg, and those in search of consequential military history will find this book to their liking."--Washington Times

"Retreat from Gettysburg tells us new things and gives us new ways of seeing familiar events."--Chronicles

"There is everything to praise in this book, for the concept and execution are very good. Brown's arguments are on the mark, and he is to be congratulated for focusing on topics that have been overlooked far too long in the historiography."--Journal of

"Through his extensive use of primary documents, including many previously unpublished diaries, letters and reports, the reader is provided with some of the most detailed accounts of the numerous military actions that occurred during the retreat. . . . A

"Kent Masterson Brown's more than 20 years of research have come to fruition in Retreat from Gettysburg. . . . Through his extensive use of primary documents, including many previously unpublished diaries, letters, and reports, the reader is provid

Book Description

"Kent Masterson Brown has given us a vivid account of the Confederate return to Virginia after Gettysburg. He writes of the suffering of the wounded, the vast wagon trains, foraging, slaves, and attacks by Union cavalry. It is a must read for students of battle and a testimony to the hellishness of war."--Harry W. Pfanz, author of Gettysburg--The Second Day

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Customer Reviews

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See all 33 customer reviews
Excellent maps are also included.
Kent Masterson Brown has spent more than twenty years researching and writing his 500+ page book on the retreat from Gettysburg.
Eric J. Wittenberg
The latter was also a very good book.
Maninthemoon *50

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wittenberg on March 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Kent Masterson Brown has spent more than twenty years researching and writing his 500+ page book on the retreat from Gettysburg. I first met Kent ten years or so ago, and I was aware that he was working on this project then. He has spent years and years on it, and it shows.

This book appears destined to become a standard reference work on the subject. The bibliography is 28 pages long, and he found a tremendous volume of primary source manuscript material that is unfamiliar to even me, who has also been studying the retreat for more than ten years. The work is extremely scholarly in nature, but yet is amply mapped and amply illustrated, making it attractive to less sophisticated students of the Gettysburg Campaign. There are also unpublished photos that I have never seen before that add a lot to the story, including a photo of Capt. George Emack, the company commander who held off Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick's entire cavalry division at Monterey Pass for much of the night on July 4.

Brown's primary thrust is the logistics of the retreat, and he shows that there are many complex reasons why the definitive fight did not take place on the north bank of the Potomac River after Gettysburg. Those who are inclined to criticize Meade may well reconsider their positions after reading this.

Congratulations to Kent Brown for writing a terrific and much needed book that addresses a too-often overlooked aspect of the Gettysburg Campaign in the level of detail that it has long deserved.

This book definitely needs a place on the bookshelves of any student of the Gettysburg Campaign, and also on the bookshelves of any student of army logistics and how they can make or break a campaign.

Highly recommended.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Kent Masterson Brown's "Retreat from Gettysburg" (2005) has been justly praised as the first full-length study of the Army of Northern Virginia as it withdrew from Gettysburg following the failure of "Pickett's Charge" on July 3, 1863, crossed South Mountain, and succeeded in crossing the Potomac River on July 14, 1863. Most histories of the battle devote only a few anti-climactic pages to the retreat and tell the story from the standpoint of General Meade and the Army of the Potomac. These books then either praise or criticize Meade to varying degrees for not being more aggressive in attacking Lee's army. As is well known, President Lincoln was highly critical of Meade and believed that a further attack could have severely crippled the Army of Northern Virginia and perhaps ended the War.

But Brown's study not only tells a detailed story of the retreat, it offers as well a somewhat different account of Lee's Pennsylvania campaign than that offered in recent studies. The books on the Battle of Gettysburg by Sears and Trudeau, for example, explain the Pennsylvania campaign as an attempt by Lee to win a major victory, to fight a battle for the annihilation of the Army of the Potomac, and thus to bring the war to an end. Brown argues that the primary focus of the campaign was different. He sees it primarily as a large-scale raid in which the Army of Northern Virginia invaded Northern soil to secure food for the troops, forage for the horses and mules, and essential supplies for the Army. Southern soil had been decimated by two years of heavy fighting, and the Confederacy lacked an adequate supply system to keep the army moving. Thus Lee wanted to tap the rich, untouched soil of Pennsylvania for supplies to keep his Army a fighting force.

And forage Lee's army did.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This could be the most important Civil War history published in 2005. This ignored subject is usually covered in a few pages at the end of a Gettysburg history. We all know the AoNV managed to get back to Virginia, that it was a horrible experience and that the AOP was unable to force a battle that it could win. Kent Masterson Brown has taken these few facts, coupled with extensive research and built a story of escape, pursuit and human suffering with few equals in American history. Somehow, a complex series of stories come together in a compelling narrative that engages and then astounds the reader.

This story starts with the failure of Pickett's Charge and ends about two weeks later, with the AoNV safe in Virginia and Meade forever dammed for "allowing Lee" to escape. In between is hell. Rain, mud and floods on a scale that rival the more famous "Mud March", coupled with thousands of sick and wounded men being transported to safety or death. Tens of thousands of animals create an incredible amount of filth and draw every fly for miles. This book allows us to "see" what this meant in very personal human way that adds to our understanding.

Interspersed are battles with the Union Cavalry, worn out, badly beat up from Gettysburg but still "game" and spoiling for a fight. Meade must determine Lee's intentions, mount an effective counter and supply his army while caring for thousands of wounded. The author details these problems and allows us to understand what this means. For the AOP, pursuit was almost as bad as retreat was for the AoNV. Short of everything, burden with the dead and wounded from Gettysburg and working blind, they group their way south not really ready to close in for a kill but hopeful.
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