The original edition of Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions was published in 1998. It won the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable of Central New Jersey’s annual Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award as 1998′s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg. That was very exciting, heady stuff for a first-time author, and winning that award for my first book remains one of the highlights of my life. The handsome crystal prize itself occupies a place of honor in my office.
A couple of weeks ago, I was informed that the new edition, which has been slightly re-titled as Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions: Farnsworth’s Charge, South Cavalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield, July 3, 1863, has also won a prestigious award. Here’s the full press release announcing the award:
Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions by author Eric Wittenberg was selected as the 2011 winner of The Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award for the reprint category. The Army Historical Foundation has an annual awards program to recognize books and articles that have made a distinctive contribution to U.S. Army history.
Wittenberg’s Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions previously won the Bachelder-Coddington award upon its initial release. Now with a completely revised and redesigned edition Wittenberg has won another major award.
“Considering that the original edition of the book won an award, I find it especially gratifying that the new edition was also recognized,” said Wittenberg. “The new edition is a completely different book, and it deserves to be judged on its own merits. I’m grateful to the good folks at Savas Beatie for sharing my vision for it, and I am similarly grateful to the Army Historical Foundation for honoring it.”
Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions is a fully revised edition that adds extensive new research, interpretations, and conclusions about the Battle of Gettysburg’s Farnsworth’s Charge, South Cavalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield, July 3, 1863. The revised edition includes: nearly 15,000 words of new material, including a new appendix (co-authored with J. David Petruzzi), a walking and driving tour complete with GPS coordinates, updated photographs to reflect the modern appearance of the Gettysburg battlefield, and a new map.
“Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions is an influential book and we are honored that it was given this prestigious award,” explained Savas Beatie’s Managing Director Theodore P. Savas. “Eric is a true trail blazer in the arena of Civil War Cavalry research and writing and we are proud of our ongoing relationship with him.”
Candidates are nominated by their publishers. Each candidate receives an initial screening. A select Awards Committee of distinguished military historians and writers carefully judge the finalists. Each finalist is judged against the following four criteria: Significance to U.S. Army History, quality of writing (e.g. clarity, style and analysis), historical accuracy, and presentation (e.g. use of maps, photographs or other materials).
The Distinguished Book and Article Award consists of a distinctive plaque and a nominal cash prize to the author. The winners are announced to the public at the Annual Meeting of the Army Historical Foundation in June of each year. The Army Historical Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the American soldier. Its goal is to promote greater public appreciation for the contributions that America’s Army – Active, Reserve, and National Guard – has made to the nation in 233 years of service.
The AHF Distinguished Writing Awards program was established in 1997 to recognize authors who make a significant contribution to the literature on U.S. Army history. Each year nominations are submitted to the Awards Committee by publishers and journal editors. A small group of finalists are selected and a final judging is made. For more information on the Foundation and its activities, please visit the AHF website.
To say the least, I am honored, flattered, and humbled all at the same time. Knowing that both editions of my first book have been honored with major awards tells me that I’ve done what I set out to do, which is to tell the stories of the men who fought, suffered, and died in those forgotten cavalry actions at Gettysburg and Fairfield, and that I’ve hopefully done so with respect and accuracy. It brings a certain symmetry too, knowing that both editions have been similarly recognized.
Congratulations are also in order to my friends Scott Mingus, Sr. and James A. Morgan, III, whose new editions–also by Savas-Beatie–were also nominated for the same award in the same category. Even if I had not won the award, I still would have won. The late, lamented Ironclad Publishing published the first editions of their books, and I was the one who talked Jim Morgan into writing his book in the first place. It’s wonderful being in the company of two old friends, and I congratulate them on the recognition that their fine books have received.
I am grateful to my friends at Savas-Beatie for bringing my book back into print, and for allowing me to do it the way I wanted to see it done. I am similarly grateful to Ted Savas, who shares my philosophy about what makes a good book, and for sharing my belief that no book can ever have too many maps or too many illustrations. And I am likewise grateful to all of your for your unflagging support over the years.Scridb filter