"The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour

Savas Beatie
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An award-winning Civil War historian’s profile of the brilliant Union cavalry officer and the strategies he employed to prevent catastrophe at Gettysburg.
 
The Battle of Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War. But the outcome of the decisive confrontation between North and South might have been dramatically different if not for the actions of Brig. Gen. John Buford, commander of the Union army’s First Cavalry Division.
 
An award-winning chronicler of America’s War between the States and author of more than a dozen acclaimed works of historical scholarship, Eric J. Wittenberg now focuses on the iconic commanding officer known to his troops as “Honest John” and “Old Steadfast.” Wittenberg describes in fascinating detail the brilliant maneuvers Buford undertook to keep Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at bay and later rescue what remained of the devastated First and Eleventh Corps.”The Devil’s to Pay” celebrates the stunning military achievements of an unparalleled tactical genius at the onset of the Gettysburg Campaign and paints an unforgettable portrait of a quiet, unassuming cavalryman who recognized a possible disaster in the making and took bold action to avert it.
 
Based on a wealth of information from primary sources, “The Devil’s to Pay” includes pages of illustrations, maps, and photographs, as well as a walking and driving tour of the battlefield sites where America’s history was made at a staggeringly high cost in blood. A comprehensive tactical study that is both scholarly and eminently accessible, it is an essential addition to the library of any Civil War enthusiast.
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About the author

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg has authored over a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, as well as two dozen articles in popular magazines such as North & South, Blue & Gray, America's Civil War, and Gettysburg Magazine. His first book, Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions (Thomas Publications, Gettysburg PA, 1998) won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award. The second edition won the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Writing Award, for Reprint, 2011. Wittenberg is a favored speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of cavalry battlefields and related sites. He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located there. He lives in Columbus with his wife Susan and their beloved dogs. Wittenberg is the CEO of Ironclad Publishing Inc. Visit Eric J. Wittenberg's website: http://www.ericwittenberg.com
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Additional Information

Publisher
Savas Beatie
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Published on
Oct 19, 2014
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781611212099
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / United States
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Reference / Atlases, Gazetteers & Maps
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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An award-winning historical study of the important role played by Union and Confederate horse soldiers on the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg.
 
The Union army’s victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863, is widely considered to have been the turning point in America’s War between the States. But the valuable contributions of the mounted troops, both Northern and Rebel, in the decisive three-day conflict have gone largely unrecognized. Acclaimed Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg now gives the cavalries their proper due.
 
In Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, Wittenberg explores three important mounted engagements undertaken during the battle and how they influenced the final outcome. The courageous but doomed response by Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth’s cavalry brigade in the wake of Pickett’s Charge is recreated in fascinating detail, revealing the fatal flaws in the general’s plan to lead his riders against entrenched Confederate infantry and artillery. The tenacious assault led by Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt on South Cavalry Field is also examined, as is the strategic victory at Fairfield by Southern troops that nearly destroyed the Sixth US Cavalry and left Hagerstown Road open, enabling General Lee’s eventual retreat.
 
Winner of the prestigious Bachelder-Coddington Award for historical works concerning the Battle of Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg’s Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions rights a long-standing wrong by lifting these all-important engagements out of obscurity. A must-read for Civil War buffs everywhere, it completes the story of the battle that changed American history forever.
June 1863. The Gettysburg Campaign is in its opening hours. Harness jingles and hoofs pound as Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart leads his three brigades of veteran troopers on a ride that triggers one of the Civil War’s most bitter and enduring controversies. Instead of finding glory and victory—two objectives with which he was intimately familiar—Stuart reaped stinging criticism and substantial blame for one of the Confederacy’s most stunning and unexpected battlefield defeats. In Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi objectively investigate the role Stuart’s horsemen played in the disastrous campaign. It is the first book ever written on this important and endlessly fascinating subject.

Stuart left Virginia under acting on General Robert E. Lee’s discretionary orders to advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he was to screen Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s marching infantry corps and report on enemy activity. The mission jumped off its tracks from virtually the moment it began when one unexpected event after another unfolded across Stuart's path. For days, neither Lee nor Stuart had any idea where the other was, and the enemy blocked the horseman’s direct route back to the Confederate army, which was advancing nearly blind north into Pennsylvania. By the time Stuart reached Lee on the afternoon of July 2, the armies had unexpectedly collided at Gettysburg, the second day's fighting was underway, and one of the campaign’s greatest controversies was born.

Did the plumed cavalier disobey Lee’s orders by stripping the army of its “eyes and ears?” Was Stuart to blame for the unexpected combat the broke out at Gettysburg on July 1? Authors Wittenberg and Petruzzi, widely recognized for their study and expertise of Civil War cavalry operations, have drawn upon a massive array of primary sources, many heretofore untapped, to fully explore Stuart’s ride, its consequences, and the intense debate among participants shortly after the battle, through early post-war commentators, and among modern scholars.

The result is a richly detailed study jammed with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern cavalry, and fresh insights on every horse engagement, large and small, fought during the campaign.
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.

In 2014, Eric J. Wittenberg published “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour, an award-winning study of Union cavalry delaying actions at Gettysburg. Fast-forward four years to 2018 and Wittenberg’s latest release, a companion Western Theater study entitled Holding the Line on the River of Death: Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga, September 18, 1863.

This volume focuses on the two important delaying actions conducted by mounted Union soldiers at Reed’s and Alexander’s bridges on the first day of Chickamauga. A cavalry brigade under Col. Robert H. G. Minty and Col. John T. Wilder’s legendary “Lightning Brigade” of mounted infantry made stout stands at a pair of chokepoints crossing Chickamauga Creek. Minty’s small cavalry brigade held off nearly ten times its number on September 18 by designing and implementing a textbook example of a delaying action. Their dramatic and outstanding efforts threw Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s entire battle plan off its timetable by delaying his army’s advance for an entire day. That delay cost Bragg’s army the initiative at Chickamauga. Wittenberg brings his expertise with Civil War cavalry operations to bear with vivid and insightful descriptions of the fighting and places the actions in their full and proper historic context.

This thoroughly researched and well-written book includes three appendices—two orders of battle and a discussion of the historic context of some of the tactics employed by the Union mounted force on September 18, and an epilogue on how the War Department and National Park Service have remembered these events. It also includes a detailed walking and driving tour complete with the GPS coordinates, a trademark of Wittenberg’s recent works. Complete with more than 60 photos and 15 maps by master cartographer Mark Anderson Moore, Holding the Line on the River of Death: Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga, September 18, 1863 will be a welcome addition to the burgeoning Chickamauga historiography.
The second day's fighting at Gettysburg--the assault of the Army of Northern Virginia against the Army of the Potomac on 2 July 1863--was probably the critical engagement of that decisive battle and, therefore, among the most significant actions of the Civil War.

Harry Pfanz, a former historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, has written a definitive account of the second day's brutal combat. He begins by introducing the men and units that were to do battle, analyzing the strategic intentions of Lee and Meade as commanders of the opposing armies, and describing the concentration of forces in the area around Gettysburg. He then examines the development of tactical plans and the deployment of troops for the approaching battle. But the emphasis is on the fighting itself. Pfanz provides a thorough account of the Confederates' smashing assaults -- at Devil's Den and Litle Round Top, through the Wheatfield and the Peach Orchard, and against the Union center at Cemetery Ridge. He also details the Union defense that eventually succeeded in beating back these assaults, depriving Lee's gallant army of victory.

Pfanz analyzes decisions and events that have sparked debate for more than a century. In particular he discusses factors underlying the Meade-Sickles controversy and the questions about Longstreet's delay in attacking the Union left. The narrative is also enhanced by thirteen superb maps, more than eighty illustrations, brief portraits of the leading commanders, and observations on artillery, weapons, and tactics that will be of help even to knowledgeable readers.

Gettysburg--The Second Day is certain to become a Civil War classic. What makes the work so authoritative is Pfanz' mastery of the Gettysburg literature and his unparalleled knowledge of the ground on which the fighting occurred. His sources include the Official Records, regimental histories and personal reminiscences from soldiers North and South, personal papers and diaries, newspaper files, and last -- but assuredly not least -- the Gettysburg battlefield. Pfanz's career in the National Park Service included a ten-year assignment as a park historian at Gettysburg. Without doubt, he knows the terrain of the battle as well as he knows the battle itself.

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