27 December 2007 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 6 comments

Well, you’ve heard me talk about the retreat book plenty here. Sorry to keep banging away at it, but the book now has an official write-up on Amazon.com and on the distributor’s web site. Here is the write-up:

The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863
Eric J. Wittenberg, J. David Petruzzi, & Michael F. Nugent

The titanic three-day battle of Gettysburg left 50,000 casualties in its wake, a battered Southern army far from its base of supplies, and a rich historiographic legacy. Thousands of books and articles cover nearly every aspect of the battle, but not a single volume focuses on the military aspects of the monumentally important movements of the armies to and across the Potomac River. One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 is the first detailed military history of Lee’s retreat and the Union effort to catch and destroy the wounded Army of Northern Virginia.

Against steep odds and encumbered with thousands of casualties, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee’s post-battle task was to successfully withdraw his army across the Potomac River. Union commander George G. Meade’s equally difficult assignment was to intercept the effort and destroy his enemy. The responsibility for defending the exposed Southern columns belonged to cavalry chieftain James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart. If Stuart fumbled his famous ride north to Gettysburg, his generalship during the retreat more than redeemed his flagging reputation.

The ten days of retreat triggered nearly two dozen skirmishes and major engagements, including fighting at Granite Hill, Monterey Pass, Hagerstown, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, and Falling Waters. President Abraham Lincoln was thankful for the early July battlefield victory, but disappointed that General Meade was unable to surround and crush the Confederates before they found safety on the far side of the Potomac. Exactly what Meade did to try to intercept the fleeing Confederates, and how the Southerners managed to defend their army and ponderous 17-mile long wagon train of wounded until crossing into western Virginia on the early morning of July 14, is the subject of this study.

One Continuous Fight draws upon a massive array of documents, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and published primary and secondary sources. These long-ignored foundational sources allow the authors, each widely known for their expertise in Civil War cavalry operations, to describe carefully each engagement. The result is a rich and comprehensive study loaded with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern and Northern cavalry, and fresh insights on every engagement, large and small, fought during the retreat.

The retreat from Gettysburg was so punctuated with fighting that a soldier felt compelled to describe it as “One Continuous Fight.” Until now, few students fully realized the accuracy of that description. Complimented with 18 original maps, dozens of photos, and a complete driving tour with GPS coordinates of the entire retreat, One Continuous Fight is an essential book for every student of the American Civil War in general, and for the student of Gettysburg in particular.

About the Authors: Eric J. Wittenberg has written widely on Civil War cavalry operations. His books include Glory Enough for All (2002), The Union Cavalry Comes of Age (2003), and The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign (2005). He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

J. David Petruzzi is the author of several magazine articles on Eastern Theater cavalry operations, conducts tours of cavalry sites of the Gettysburg Campaign, and is the author of the popular “Buford’s Boys” website at www.bufordsboys.com. Petruzzi lives in Brockway, Pennsylvania.

A long time student of the Gettysburg Campaign, Michael Nugent is a retired US Army Armored Cavalry Officer and the descendant of a Civil War Cavalry soldier. He has previously written for several military publications. Nugent lives in Wells, Maine.

Ted Savas writes a pretty good book description. 🙂

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  1. Phil LeDuc
    Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 6:16 pm

    I recently finished “Plenty of Blame” and so I’m eagerly awaiting this book.
    Best wishes for what I know will be a big success.

    Phil LeDuc

    p.s. – I think the author of the above write-up meant to use “complemented” rather than “complimented”. I know, I know – it’s nitpicking, but one expects the grammatical bar to be set at the highest level for a publisher.
    No change to my compliments to all of you, though.

  2. Thu 27th Dec 2007 at 6:22 pm


    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Plenty of Blame and I likewise am pleased to hear that you’re looking forward to seeing One Continuous Fight.

    As for the nit-picking, I understand. 🙂


  3. Matt McKeon
    Sat 29th Dec 2007 at 10:06 am

    I’m looking forward to this one. Any thoughts on “Retreat from Gettysburg,” (which I just got for Christmas)?

  4. Sat 29th Dec 2007 at 10:49 pm


    It’s an extremely well-researched book, and for the areas that it focuses on, it’s got no peer. Nobody will ever do a better analysis of the logistics of the retreat than Kent. My complaints with it have always been two-fold. First is the heavy slant toward the Confederate side and the other is focus on logistics over tactics. We’ve tried to craft our work to fill those gaps.


  5. Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 10:54 pm


    Congratulations and it sounds like a great book. Actually had a hard time finding it on amazon a sthey have your name as “Wittenburg” and don’t have JD’s at all…I’m sure that will change.


  6. Sun 30th Dec 2007 at 11:00 pm


    Thanks. It’s been a lot of years in the works, nearly 15.

    I noticed that about the Amazon listing. The distributor puts those up. Fear not, it will be fixed soon enough.


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