Brett Schulte at TOCWOC came up with a brilliant idea, which was to get a number of Civil War bloggers to list their ten favorite/most influential Gettysburg books on the anniversary of the battle. Brett was kind enough to ask me to participate, so here’s my list. I have not included any of my work on this list, as it would be immodest to do so.
1. Edwin B. Coddington, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. This book is the bible for any serious student of the campaign. The treatment of the retreat is a little weak, only because Prof. Coddington died before it could be completed, and someone else had to finish the work.
2. Harry W. Pfanz, Gettysburg: The Second Day. A truly magnificent book that provides the sort of detailed study of Longstreet’s assault on the second day that I crave. This book is a must-have for the library of any serious student of the campaign.
3. Edward G. Longacre, The Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign:A Tactical Study of Mounted Operations during the Civil War’s Pivotal Campaign, 9 June-14 July 1863 . This 1986 book provides the first study of cavalry operations in the Gettysburg Campaign dedicated entirely to mounted operations. Its coverage lacks detail, but it’s well-written and comprehensive. It was one of the books that got me started doing what I do.
4. David G. Martin, Gettysburg, July 1. I’m a first day guy. It’s by far my favorite part of the battle. An incredible research resource, this was the first detailed study dedicated entirely to the first day of the battle. It can be tough to read, but it’s worth the effort.
5. Richard Shue, Morning at Willoughby Run. Dedicated exclusively to the morning of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, it’s thought-provoking and detailed.
6. J. D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley, The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest. This is the tour guide for those who want both the mainstream and the obscure, and there is simply no substitute for the superb maps of master cartographer Steve Stanley. Another must-have for every Gettysburg library.
7. Jeffry D. Wert, Gettysburg, Day Three. Readable, complete, and well-researched, this is the best account of the entire third day of the Battle of Gettysburg ever written. I greatly admire Jeff Wert’s work and believe that this book is some of his very best work, even though a couple of the maps got bollixed up.
8. Scott L. Mingus, Sr., Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition. I’m all about the obscure stuff. The more obscure, the better. This episode occurred before the Battle of Gettysburg and had far-reaching consequences for the outcome of the campaign for a lot of reasons. Scott Mingus has done an outstanding job of documenting these events in a readable book. I am little bit biased; I wrote the introduction to this book. However, it is one of my favorites and would be even if I hadn’t written the introduction.
9. The Bachelder Papers. These are three volumes of correspondence by participants in the battle. These letters to John B. Bachelder are invaluable to trying to interpret events at the Battle of Gettysburg and also some of the events that occurred during other aspects of the campaign. I use these three volumes often in my work on the Gettysburg Campaign.
10. W. P. Conrad and Ted Alexander, When War Passed this Way. This book is indispensable if you’re interested in how the Gettysburg Campaign impacted Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Franklin County witnessed the second largest battle north of the Mason-Dixon Line at Monterey Pass, the passage of Lee’s army to and from Gettysburg, and the passage of the Wagon Train of Wounded. This groundbreaking study is a must-have for any serious student of the campaign, but good luck finding a copy. It’s long out of print and very, very hard to find. Hopefully, someone will bring it back into print one of these days (hint, hint, Ted Alexander….)
There are probably others, but these are the books that come to my mind as being essential to any Gettysburg library.
The permanent page for this project may be found here. The debate should be fun.Scridb filter