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Posted January 17, 2000
Edward Longacre is to be commended for trying to fill a void in civil war historiography. John Buford is a hero of Gettysburg and deserves a good biography. Regrettably, Longacre falls short. His treatment is shallow and speculative. One gets a better sense of Buford by reading the KILLER ANGELS. Longacre challenges the historicity of others, but his own accuracy is wanting. He claims, for example, that First Corps commander John Reynolds died 'helping steady a part of Meredith's line that showed signs of wavering¿ .' He cites several sources for this novel account, including Edwin Coddington. Meredith commanded the Iron Brigade, which relieved Buford, counterattacking Archer's Brigade through Herbst Woods. Coddington provides an account clearly at odds with Longacre's. 'Immediately, the 2nd Wisconsin¿ dashed forward. Near the ridge they met Reynolds, who shouted, 'Forward men, for God's sake forward and drive those fellows out of those woods¿ .' Without breaking step they followed their determined colonel (Lucius Fairchild) and advanced steadily into the timber. As Reynolds¿ turned in his saddle to look for supports, there was a heavy exchange of volleys¿ Reynolds suddenly swayed and fell to the ground.' How or why Longacre reads 'signs of wavering in a steady advance' goes without explanation or authority. And while there is fleeting reference to the Union's command controversies of the first day, some analysis would be welcomed, particularly as Longacre purports to provide us a 'military' biography. Could Buford have better covered Howard's right flank? I am glad I added Longacre to my library, but hope he or another will provide us with a deeper, more accurate account.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.