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Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg Hardcover – September 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“…the best study of what J.E.B. Stuart did during this campaign and his reasons for doing so. Fair and balanced, it is a necessary read…” (Civil War Courier)

“..a well detailed history, that no matter what side one might view the ride, it would be a fair objective account…well-researched book on all points clearly and cleverly argued.” (Midwest Book Review)

About the Author

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg is the author of many articles and the author or co-author of more than a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, including The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign; Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg; and One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Susan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie; 2nd edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714203
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James W. Durney VINE VOICE on December 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I do not like to use "definitive", "settles the question" or "finial word" when reviewing books. Some questions will never be settled, someone will always have another thing to say and in time, even Coddington's book on Gettysburg could become second best. While I firmly believe the above to be true, I do not think that this book will see a superior treatment of this question for a very very long time.

"Has anyone seen JEB Stuart?" "Where is my cavalry?" were questions that Robert E. Lee often asks in the days preceding the Battle of Gettysburg. Stuart, commander of his cavalry, was missing separated from Lee by a Union army. Arriving at Gettysburg, his command exhausted by a grueling ride around the Union Army, complete with battles and numerous skirmishes. Stuart is greeted with an icy reception from Lee. The next day, on the East cavalry Field, his command is defeated and the Union right holds. Lee chose to ignore this and other actions by his subordinates during the battle, assuming full responsibility for Gettysburg.

In time, Gettysburg looms larger and larger in Civil War lore. One battle becomes the reason for the Confederacy's defeat. Right or wrong, this idea becomes the foundation of the story of the South's defeat. The story is accepted and endlessly repeated until it becomes an American tragedy. Years later, after Lee's death, questions raised in 1863 became accusations as the finger pointing begins. General Lee cannot be wrong at the most important battle of the war. The rank and file cannot be less than heroic. Somewhere, somehow a failure or a series of failures have to occur that undermine General Lee's perfect plan and cause the battle to be lost.
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Format: Hardcover
Very early, not long after midnight in fact, on June 25, 1863, J.E.B. Stuart and his staff mounted up and began the most controversial ride any cavalrymen would make during the Civil War. The trip would take them within six miles of Georgetown, just outside of Washington. They would pass on, capture a significant Union supply train, cross the Potomac, tear up the C & O Canal, canter across Maryland, and enter Pennsylvania, where they would fight a couple of engagements and go so far north as Carlisle, outside Harrisburg, the state capital. There, on the evening of July 1, Stuart would get the order to rejoin the Confederate army at Gettysburg. When he finally faced his commander, Stuart heard these words: "General Stuart, where have you been?" After giving a response, Lee's disappointment was manifest. "I have not heard a word from you for days, and you the eyes and ears of my army."

All histories of the Gettysburg Campaign deal with Lee's question, where was Stuart? His attempt to again ride around the Union Army, as he had been able to do with relative impunity in 1862, is well known. The difficulties he created for Lee, who entered unfamiliar ground once he crossed the Potomac, have been widely discussed. But Stuart's ride has never received the full, detailed study it deserves until this book's recent release.

Both of the author's are well-respected authorities on Civil War cavalry, and as the title of the work implies, they conclude that Stuart was hardly alone in carrying the blame for his absence from Lee's army at such a crucial time. The book contains a thorough and well-written description of just where Stuart was, and of the orders and correspondence that were part of the decision-making process.
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Format: Hardcover
Authors Wittenberg and Petruzzi have written a fine study on the exploits of J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry, and their long road to the battlefield at Gettysburg.

It is a spellbinding account of what they went through from the crossing of the Potomac River, and then through the trials and tribulations and hardships they all encountered during those days of late June and early July, 1863.

As the title suggests, the book offers a full interpretation of those who were involved in the events of this part of the campaign, and the authors account is a fair and balanced look at the mistakes made, what was done right, and just how the word luck becomes a part of such a movement that took place over those days in early summer, 1863.

The research done is impeccable, and the authors have found nuggets that add to the story, and are for the first time included in this book. The book is filled with photos of those involved, and the maps included helps the student to follow the action as described in the narrative. The footnotes are a must read own their own, and helps to expand the tale of the journey that Stuart and his troopers found themselves in those few days.

The inclusion of Stuart's after battle report on his part in the Gettysburg Campaign adds to the book, and as one reads it, you can tell when he wrote it, he was already fielding questions about his "delay" in reuniting with the main body of Lee's Army.

The addition of a driving tour for those sites mentioned in the narrative completes the book, and is an a fine feature for those who wish to follow the roads Stuart and his men traversed on their way to Gettysburg. The authors include a photo of the Felty Barn, which was a landmark at the Battle of Hunterstown.
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