Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Booknotes: Silent Sentinels

New Arrival:
Silent Sentinels: A Reference Guide to the Artillery of Gettysburg by George W. Newton (Savas Beatie, 2017).

George Newton's Silent Sentinels was originally published by SB back in 2005, and this is the brand new paperback reprint (which might make some kind of a dent in those used hardcover prices). I missed it before, so this is my first look at it. The book appears to be one of those unusual hybrids friendly to novice readers while also being serious reference tools.

Indeed, it's "designed to be of use to both the casual battlefield visitor and the serious Civil War scholar. The former will use Silent Sentinels to learn more about the campaign in general, the role of artillery in Civil War battles, and how it was used on the battlefield at Gettysburg. They will also use it to learn how to identify different types of artillery, and tour a wide variety of artillery-related sites from Oak Hill in the north to a solitary gun well south of the Peach Orchard."

On the other side of things, "(m)ore experienced Civil War students will find Silent Sentinels' extensive primary sources, diagrams, appendices of numbers and losses, and informative discussion of artillery organization and tactics an indispensable reference resource." The appendix section includes a full artillery order of battle (organization, gun types and number, strength, and casualties) for each side, battery tables arranged by state, and a selection of Union and Confederate artillery officer bios and battle reports.

More from the description: "Silent Sentinels opens with a general overview of the campaign and a wide-ranging discussion of 19th century artillery, the gun types used at Gettysburg, the equipment needed to operate the guns, how they were organized in each army, and the tactics employed by both Union and Confederate artillerymen. The chapter-long and wide-ranging tour included in this book guides readers to a variety of fascinating sites with enough detail to interest even the most jaded Gettysburg historian."

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