Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Booknotes: The Second Day at Gettysburg

New Arrival:

The Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of the Union Center on Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863 by David L. Schultz and Scott L. Mingus, Sr. (Savas Beatie, 2015).

About ten years ago, Schultz (with David Wieck) authored a book about the the Second Day at Gettysburg, The Battle Between the Farm Lanes: Hancock's Ride Saves the Union Center July 2, 1863, which was published by Ironclad. He returns, this time with Scott Mingus, to detail the entire July 2 series of events from the perspectives of both sides. At nearly 500 pages of narrative, The Second Day at Gettysburg is a huge book. As expected, it receives the full Savas Beatie treatment when it comes to maps. The new volume "expands on David Shultz and David Wieck’s critically acclaimed earlier work The Battle Between the Farm Lanes. This completely revised and expanded study, which includes new photographs, original maps, and a self-guided tour of the fighting, is grounded in extensive research and unmatched personal knowledge of the terrain. The result is a balanced and compelling account of this often overlooked portion of the battle." Another major work to add to your Gettysburg library.


  1. Thanks for this posting, Drew.

    The authors used their incredibly deep knowledge of the terrain on this part of the field to craft a unique perspective. There are very few instances of "This brigade moved up and took position on X's right flank."

    Instead, and I believe for the first time, readers get a deep and rich understanding of how fences, trees, buildings, ridges, swales, etc. affected the movements and decision-making on both sides during this fighting.

    What key decision-makers could actually see, and when, is discussed throughout the narrative because what they could see and what they THOUGHT they could see played a key role in how the fighting unfolded.

    The routes units took to get to the field are also analyzed in depth. The result is a very detailed book (sometimes, in some places, it might be too much for neophyte readers on the subject) that rewards those with the patience to read it slowly, study the maps and photos, and finish the book. If they do, their understanding of Cemetery Ridge and the fighting there on Day 2 will be deeply enhanced.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and your readers.

    Ted Savas
    Savas Beatie LLC

  2. Thanks, Drew, for the mention of the new book! Much appreciated!


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