Today, being the 143rd anniversary of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, seems a good time to make an announcement.
In 1986, Ed Longacre published his book The Cavalry at Gettysburg. It won lots of awards when it was published–and rightfully so. It was a groundbreaking work, the first full-length study to focus entirely on mounted operations during the Gettysburg Campaign. There are a couple of problems with the book. First, and foremost, Ed’s never been known as a tactical historian. His works always deal with the big picture and seldom contain much in the way of tactical detail. Consequently, all of the campaign’s mounted actions, including the fourteen hour slugging match at Brandy Station, are covered in 338 pages. That, by definition, means that there is little in the way of tactical detail, and few maps.
Second, Ed’s book is now a bit dated. It no longer represents the state of the art. For one thing, the book repeats lots of myths as the gospel truth, including repeating the myth that John Buford’s troops were armed with repeaters at Gettysburg on July 1, when this is not the case. Lots of good new primary source material has surfaced since the publication of Ed’s book twenty years ago. As one excellent example, Ed lamented the fact that John Buford evidently did not pen an official report of the Battle of Brandy Station. Three years after the publication of Ed’s book, Buford’s report was found in the Joseph Hooker papers in the archives of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, thereby changing the interpretation of the battle forever.
J. D. Petruzzi and I got to talking about things, and we realized that, between us, we have published on about 85% of the mounted actions during the Gettysburg Campaign, and that we had plenty of research material on the remaining 15%. We realized that if we combined all of our stuff and updated it, we could then produce a two-volume set on mounted operations in the Gettysburg Campaign that would hopefully stand as the definitive work on the subject. It will represent a lifetime’s work for both of us–probably thirty years of combined research and scholarship. Our proposed project will have the tactical detail that Longacre’s book lacks, and we will also be able to update the research and make it reflect the state of the art for the research.
John Heiser, who is technically retired from cartography, has agreed to make an exception for us and to complete our map set. Between the prior maps and the new ones, the set will have approximately 50 maps, and we anticipate somewhere in the vicinity of 100 period illustrations and probably 50-100 contemporary views of the sites involved. All told, the thing could approach 1,000 pages in length, and we hope that it will stand as THE work on the subject.
The working title for the project is To Horse!: Mounted Operations in the Gettysburg Campaign. It’s obviously going to take a substantial period of time to complete a project of this magnitude, so please don’t expect it to be done tomorrow, or in six months. I have to finish Dahlgren, and I have a book on John Hunt Morgan’s Indiana and Ohio raid of 1863 under contract that will have to be completed, too. We’ve approached Ted Savas of Savas-Beatie about publishing it, and Ted has expressed a definite interest.
We will keep everyone posted.Scridb filter