Witness to Gettysburg

PDF EBook by Richard Wheeler

EBook Description

Even with the focus upon a single battle of the Civil War, this is a complex story to tell and Richard Wheeler set himself a difficult task by patching together his account using so many primary sources. Witness to Gettysburg PDF EBookBecause of the number and range of those sources and the commitment that Wheeler dedicates to his method, that narrative is necessarily sometimes a bit haphazard.As a general rule, it's a very successful account of events, but from time to time the transition between, say, a young civilian girl in residence in the township of Gettysburg and the following account from, perhaps, a Southern general makes for a somewhat awkward transition, and those shifts in perspective can be a bit of a shock.Nonethless, having stitched together so many primary sources is a considerable accomplishment, and Wheeler's introductions and transitional text are smooth and workable.Being direct quotes from people with a range of education levels and speaking styles, the accounts themselves have the occasional grammatical irregularity, of course, but those changes and idiosyncrasies in the language are all the more valuable for their individuality.

Readers of Civil War history will recognize many of those primary sources from other texts and histories.Several are amongst the most famous in American history.Other accounts are from much more obscure or, at least, more common people.For those looking for a fuller, more comprehensive account of the battle of Gettysburg, the "common" accounts are the more valuable accounts.The perspective of Longstreet or Meade are well known components of the historical record, but the accounts of the occasional private soldier or civilian witness are much more compelling.Though Wheeler deals with both ends of the perspective, it read to me as if his focus was as much as possible on the accounts of ordinary people—as well it should be, given the number and availability of "big man" histories of the Civil War.

Readers of historical fiction will recognize many of the stories told in this history as well.I have no doubt this book was inspiration for Michael Shaara, Charles Frazier or John Jakes.I'm equally certain later civil war historians like Shelby Foote or James McPherson will have read this text.In some cases, they use similar source materials, or—in the case of the fiction authors—certain accounts are lifted nearly verbatim from the same sources used by Wheeler.

Where this book might leave some readers wanting is in the military tactics and battlefield strategy of the fight at Gettysburg.Though one can get a sense of those things from the stories and accounts in this text, it will require another book to get a "bird's eye view" of events.This is an up close and personal version of history.To see the pieces on the chessboard will require further reading.Nonetheless, this book serves as a primer for those looking for an introduction to the battle the serves as the high water mark of the Civil War, and as a re- PDFenforcer to those who are already familiar with it.It and can be read by those in either category and all those in between.
Like this book? Read online this: Turf Accounts, Gettysburg.

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