Friday, November 6, 2020

Booknotes: The Maps of the Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign

New Arrival:
The Maps of the Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign: An Atlas of Mounted Operations from Brandy Station Through Falling Waters, June 9 – July 14, 1863 by Bradley M. Gottfried (Savas Beatie, 2020).

This is the eighth installment of the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series. Predominately eastern in focus, the series is the brainchild of Bradley Gottfried and he's now authored seven of its titles (the lone western theater battle atlas the work of Davids Powell and Friedrichs). I had to refresh my memory of how much cavalry coverage was in The Maps of Gettysburg (2007, rev. 2010) and the earlier book (the first in the series) was indeed largely limited to the Day 1 dismounted cavalry fighting along with the later Gettysburg battlefield clashes at East Cavalry Field and South Cavalry Field.

So The Maps of the Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign indeed consists of previously uncovered material. It is useful as both standalone and supplement to The Maps of Gettysburg. From the description: "Gottfried covers the opening battle of the campaign at Brandy Station in detail, followed by the actions at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, where Jeb Stuart’s cavalry successfully halted Alfred Pleasonton’s probes toward the Blue Mountain passes in an effort to determine the location of Robert E. Lee’s army. The movements toward Gettysburg are covered in a series of maps, including the actions at Westminister, Hanover, and Hunterstown. The five major actions on July 2-3 at Gettysburg take up a considerable portion of the book and include the fight at Brinkerhoff Ridge, and four more on July 3 (Stuart against David Gregg northeast of the town, Wesley Merritt’s fight along Emmitsburg Road, Judson Kilpatrick’s actions near the base of Big Round Top, and Grumble Jones’s near-destruction of the 6th U.S. Cavalry near Fairfield)."

In addition to covering Brandy Station and the myriad of much smaller actions that preceded the great three-day battle at Gettysburg, the retreat phase of the campaign is also addressed at length. More from the description: Part of the Confederate retreat and Union pursuit, "(t)he numerous fights at Monterrey Pass, Smithfield, Boonsboro, Funkstown, and Hagerstown were of critical importance to both sides and are covered in detail. The book concludes with the fight at Falling Waters and ends with an epilogue recounting events occurring in Virginia through the end of July."

The atlas contains 82 color maps (I may be wrong, but believe the first edition of The Maps of Gettysburg was the only series volume to employ B&W maps) arranged into 16 "action sections," the map subset organization that is a series staple. When opening the book the full-page map is viewed on the right and descriptive text on the left, the latter "describing the units, personalities, movements, and combat (including quotes from eyewitnesses) depicted on the accompanying map." It's a nice system that works well. The well-researched text is extensively annotated, and the reader will find endnotes, bibliography, orders of battle, and index at the back of the book.


  1. H Drew, Thanks for this.

    It is nearly 50% sold out already, so this is quite popular. The original title in this series, "The Maps of Gettysburg," was indeed in black and white, but it was so popular we almost immediately printed it in full color; it has been reprinted two or three times. It has been out of print all of 2020 (but since most of our accounts remain closed, it is what it is). We are reprinting it again and will have it in April of 2021.

    The maps are on the right side, and full-page double-column text (about 725 words per page), is on the left. :)

    A tremendous series, and one I am immensely proud of designing and making available. Thanks again.


    -- Ted Savas
    Savas Beatie

  2. The only one in the series I own is the volume that covers the autumn 1863 northern Virginia campaigns of Bristoe Station and Mine Run. But I have to say, it's excellent.
    Definitely will be considering this one.
    Though if I could offer a wish for the wonderful people at Savas Beatie: I would love some Western Theater titles in this series.

    1. re: "I would love some Western Theater titles in this series." You and me both, brother.

  3. Let's not forget the Trans-Mississippi either.

  4. Trust me, we are working on Western Theater atlas projects, but you have to match the cartographer AND a writer, and it hard to do. We have had several begin, only to fall apart. But we are on it.

    (We did just reprint The Maps of Chickamauga, Derek and that is really outstanding and one of my favorites.


    1. I'm sure it helps Gottfried's sanity that he is both writer and cartographer for all of his atlases. I worked with graphic artists and cartographers on Civil War software projects and it was always a huge challenge to get on the same page. Just the back and forth on corrections for a single map can make the writer and cartographer frustrated as hell. For these kinds of things to work out smoothly, there almost has to be a special mind meld between both contributors.

    2. I was about to mention the excellent Chickamauga book. That is a great match of subject and author.

  5. Drew--that is precisely the point and so often a hard slog.


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