Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book Snapshot: "Echoes From Gettysburg: Georgia's Memories and Images"

Echoes From Gettysburg: Georgia's Memories and Images (Fox Run Publishing, 2021) is the second volume of Keith Jones's Echoes of Gettysburg series of books collecting published reminiscences of the battle by state. The first, Echoes From Gettysburg: South Carolina's Memories and Images, was published back in 2016. The Georgia volume also serves as a revised and expanded update to an earlier book from the author, Georgia Remembers Gettysburg: A Collection of First-Hand Accounts Written by Georgia Soldiers, which was released in 2013 by Ten Roads Publishing.

As one of the Confederacy's most populous states, Georgia's contribution in officers and men to the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg was substantial, and Georgia units and formations figured prominently in many well-known events that occurred during the campaign and battle. From the description: "The first infantry actions of the Gettysburg Campaign involved Georgia troops. Brigadier General John B. Gordon's brigade crossed the Potomac River on June 22, 1863, and was the first Confederate infantry to march into the town of Gettysburg on June 26. They also flew their flag over a one-time seat of the Continental Congress in York, Pennsylvania and engaged in early action during an attempt to capture the bridge over the Susquehanna River at Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Most discussion about Gettysburg focuses on the third day, obscuring the first two days in which Robert E. Lee' s troops were far more successful, in fact on the first day, they dominated. Thirteen thousand Georgia troops played a significant role in the three-day battle."

Georgia's role in the Gettysburg campaign is recounted in an annotated introductory essay of around thirty pages in length, with the narrative supported by a set of eight splendid Philip Laino maps. Spread throughout the volume are dozens of images (often full-page sized) of Georgia officers and men. The appendix is an order of battle for Georgia ANV units at Gettysburg, and the volume concludes with a bibliography and a unit, name, and place index.

Georgia "memories" of the battle fill just over 230 pages in the book and are almost entirely sourced from articles that appeared in thirteen (mostly Georgia) newspapers and Confederate Veteran magazine, a few published during the war years but mostly between the 1880s and early 1900s. Unpublished soldier letters or journal entries are not part of the collection.

The material is organized into standalone chapters by unit, with the first covering the Georgia artillery. Published reminiscences from those serving in the many Georgia infantry brigades (Anderson's, Benning's, Doles', Gordon's, Semmes', Wofford's, Wright's, and Thomas') that fought at Gettysburg follow that in succession. There is also a chapter for the Georgia cavalry. The final section consists of reunion accounts.

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