Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Confederate Expedition to the Susquehanna River, June 1863"

It says something about the enduring appeal of Gettysburg among writers and readers that books dealing with small segments of the campaign continue to regularly appear that are better crafted and presented than those covering entire Civil War campaigns and battles of far greater significance. This is one of those.  In addition to being a fine military history of the Gordon Expedition, Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Confederate Expedition to the Susquehanna River, June 1863 by Scott Mingus (Savas Beatie, 2011) also utilizes well the author's many years of primary source compilation work in order to present a satisfying full picture of the raid's interactions with civilians living in the cities, towns, and farms occupying its path.

On the Confederate side, the book's action follows the men of John B. Gordon's brigade of Jubal Early's division (screened by the famed 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry "White's Comanches"), as they skirmished at various points and passed through Gettysburg, York, and Hanover Junction, before the enemy's torching of the magnificent covered bridge over the Susquehanna River between Wrightsville and Columbia ended their advance. On the federal and Pennsylvania state side, large scale efforts to assemble emergency militia forces that could blunt or at least slow down the enemy advance are detailed. The diligent efforts of Major Granville Haller in coordinating the defenses in Gordon's way are particularly highlighted, a notable historiographical corrective contribution on the part of the author given how shamefully Haller was later treated [he was dismissed from the service in July on dubious charges of disloyalty]. An order of battle, chronology, and driving tour are also included.

Flames Beyond Gettysburg deserves a place in the library of every serious Gettysburg Campaign student. It should also appeal to local Pennsylvania history enthusiasts. Finally, for those that already own a copy of the original edition, the new book is a quite considerable improvement over the old one in both content and presentation, and is very much worth another look.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so very much for taking the time to read my book and comment on it. I greatly appreciate it!

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  2. Thank you for mentioning our book, Flames Beyond Gettysburg. If you would like more information about the book, including an excerpt, or its author, please check at http://www.scottmingus.com/
    Savas Beatie LLC
    Publisher of Historical Titles of Distinction
    www.savasbeatie.com

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