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Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg (U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles) Paperback – November, 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"These guides are the most thorough, detailed, and accurate books of their kind. Indeed, they are unique. I have used them to lead guided tours of several battlefields, with great success."--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War

"I most highly recommend this important and valuable series of guidebooks."--Herman Hattaway, coauthor of How the North Won the Civil War and Why the South Lost the Civil War

"These guides bridge the gap between sound military history and battlefield touring literature. They can be enjoyed without ever leaving the easy chair or they can become indispensable companions on tramps over the scenes of the greatest engagements of the Civil War."--William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour and former editor of Civil War Times Illustrated

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Product Details

  • Series: U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles
  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas (November 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700606866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700606863
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,737,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I generally agree with the other reviewers that this guide book is informative and useful. I have had it in had twice when I visited Gettysburg. A solid resource with some very interesting historical exerpts from after action reports etc.
I would also encourge people considering this book to take a look at Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide by Mark Grimsley. (ISBN 0803270771) In my opinion the Grimsley book is a bit clearer on some of the more confusing parts of the battle - the fighting in the Wheatfield for example.
All things considered both books are quite good.
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By A Customer on August 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
These series of books from the U. S. Army War College are the best available resource for conducting ACW battlefield tours - assuming that your purpose in touring battlefields is to study and understand the applicable tactics, strategy and terrain and to develop an appreciation for the objectives and efforts of the participants. If you go to ACW battlefields to gawk and gossip as an everyday tourist then an investment in these guides is unnecessary. If you have an active interest in ACW history, military history in general or fascinating chapters in human history, then these guides are remarkable values, "Best Buys". Helpful maps illustrate troop engagements and key terrain features, excerpts from the Official Records provide first person commentary from the participants at each "Stop" on your tour and concise analysis is provided to tie the story together. Thorough but not intimidating, insightful and objective, with no deficiencies noted.
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Format: Paperback
The Gettysburg battlefield guide is the first of many Civil War guidebooks and set the standard for the other books. The book covers the largest battle of the American Civil War and our most visited Battlefield Park. This is one of a multitude of guidebooks on the battle and can be an option to employing a guide or purchasing a park driving tour.
The series format is directions to a point on the field, orientation, a general lesson on what happened in your view, followed by first person accounts of the action. These guides are designed using the general staff training concept of a Staff Ride. This is when a class is taken to a historic location, discuss what happened and see how the terrain influences the event. Staff Rides are designed to be intensive "on the ground" training couple with physical observation in the hopes students will gain experience for later use.
I am not saying this to frighten you away from this guide but to tell you this is not a walk about and look at the monuments type of guide. This guide will have several pages devoted to the action at this point. It may contain a critique of the local commander's actions with possible alternates.
My experience is that reading the book prior to my visit works best. This allows me more time observing the field and less time reading the book. Of the tour options, a professional guide is usually the best but most expensive choice. The park driving tour is the best choice for a quick trip through the field to get the kids passport stamp. This book is the best choice for a serious student of the battle looking for a detailed explanation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the suggestion of Matt Spruill's book and have no regrets. I visit Gettysburg every several years and find the guides to be invaluable to the process of learning the complexities of what happened on that battlefield in 1863. My personal opinion is that it was truly the critical turning point of the Civil War and as Lincoln said, "...the birth of a new nation." In visiting the battlefield and seeing first hand the ground it was fought on many of my decades long questions as the why things went the way they did have been answered. If one plans to visit the battlefield I can highly recommend this book as a reliable resource.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the entries in a series of battlefield books/guides by the U. S. Army War College (AWC). AWC is an important institution in the American military. One effort undertaken since its founding in Carlisle PA has been assisting in (Page iv) ". . .in the historical research and then benefited from the results by taking extensive staff rides over the old battlefields, discussing leadership, decision making, tactics and strategy."

The organizational structure of the book is straightforward. Primary sources are used to illustrate from commanders reports from the field, day by day for the three days' carnage on the battlefield at Gettysburg. Then, some reflections from the authors on infantry, artillery, and cavalry. The final two sections? The "order of battle," in which the units involved and brigade commanders and above (up to the commanding generals--George Meade and Robert E. Lee) are listed. Last, casualty estimates (Page 231).

Officers' reports can often be misleading, but they do provide a sense from those on the ground as to what happened. As such, this volume represents officers' views of what was happening, day by day.

Some of the entries are well stated. One of my favorite quotations is from Brigadier General John Buford (who called Rock Island, IL, near my home town, as his residence for a time), as he wrote (Page 5): "I had gained positive information of the enemy's position and movement, and my arrangements were made for entertaining him until General Reynolds could reach the scene."

Other quoted from Day One at Gettysburg: Henry Heth, commanding a division in A. P.
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