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Gettysburg--The First Day
     

Gettysburg--The First Day

3.3 3
by Harry W. Pfanz
 

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For good reason, the second and third days of the Battle of Gettysburg have received the lion's share of attention from historians. With this book, however, the critical first day's fighting finally receives its due. After sketching the background of the Gettysburg campaign and recounting the events immediately preceding the battle, Harry Pfanz offers a detailed

Overview

For good reason, the second and third days of the Battle of Gettysburg have received the lion's share of attention from historians. With this book, however, the critical first day's fighting finally receives its due. After sketching the background of the Gettysburg campaign and recounting the events immediately preceding the battle, Harry Pfanz offers a detailed tactical description of events of the first day. He describes the engagements in McPherson Woods, at the Railroad Cuts, on Oak Ridge, on Seminary Ridge, and at Blocher's Knoll, as well as the retreat of Union forces through Gettysburg and the Federal rally on Cemetery Hill. Throughout, he draws on deep research in published and archival sources to challenge many long-held assumptions about the battle.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
An exhaustive and intimate description of the tactical events of day one.
Civil War Book Review
[This book] is a careful reconstruction of events, based on extensive research in official reports, contemporary accounts, and soldiers' memoirs.
America's Civil War
This eagerly anticipated study will undoubtedly become a classic and the standard work on the fighting of July 1.
Blue & Gray Magazine
Highly readable, features many excellent maps, outstanding research, and a variety of unfamiliar photographs.
Library Journal
Pfanz (retired National Park Service chief historian and Gettysburg National Military Park historian) has new things to say about the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the least studied of the pivotal three-day Civil War battle. Pfanz, also author of Gettysburg: The Second Day and other works, overturns several suppositions, including the belief that "a battle at Gettysburg was inevitable." He examines specific clashes at McPherson Woods, the Railroad Cuts, Oak Ridge, Brickyard, and other locales. His riveting narrative of battlefield emotions and dynamics is richly detailed on various levels, from individual enlisted men to the officers of brigades, regiments, and armies. Pfanz even looks at Gettysburg's residents, and he offers a human- interest story about a dead soldier, initially unidentified, whose widow and children were traced through a photograph in the soldier's pocket. This book complements Pfanz's other works on the battle. Recommended for academic and public libraries with in-depth collections on Civil War battles. Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State College Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
With Gettysburg: The First Day, the first day's fighting finally receives its due. . . . Offers a detailed tactical description. . . . [Pfanz] draws on deep research in published and archival sources to challenge some of the assumptions about the battle.—McCormick Messenger

Pfanz writes with a uniquely exuberant style, always selecting appropriate anecdotes that demonstrate a complete mastery of the battle's primary source materials. He has crafted a well-organized and thoroughly researched account. . . . A welcome addition to the library of any Civil War scholar or buff.—Georgia Historical Quarterly

[Pfanz's] long experience on the battlefield and the battlefield archives [has] produced [a] meticulously-detailed [study] of the battle.—Allen C. Guelzo, The Barnes & Noble Review

Pfanz's The First Day rises above [other] studies in its completeness of information and source interpretation. . . . An impeccably researched and extremely well-written narrative. . . . With Gettysburg-The First Day, Harry Pfanz demonstrates again that there is no one who better understands the Gettysburg battlefield and movements of the opposing troops. This eagerly anticipated study will undoubtedly become a classic and the standard work on the fighting of July 1.—America's Civil War

Pfanz's long-awaited microstudy of the opening day of the battle of Gettysburg offers an outstanding narrative of the fighting west and north of that small Pennsylvania town on July 1, 1863. . . . Written crisply and occasionally with a wry wit, Pfanz's narrative draws upon a broad chorus of voices, from soldiers to civilians and from privates to generals. . . . Sets the standard for future examinations of July 1, along with offering astute warnings that some controversies always will remain unresolved.—Journal of Southern History

A fast-moving narrative liberally sprinkled with anecdotes and fascinating details. . . . Extremely well researched. . . . Highly recommended.—Civil War News

An exhaustive and intimate description of the tactical events of day one.—Washington Post Book World

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807898406
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
07/01/2011
Series:
Civil War America
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
1,006,441
File size:
7 MB

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
Fredericksburg to the Potomac

Its drums were beating, its colors flying, as the 900 officers and enlisted men of the 26th North Carolina Regiment, "beaming in their splendid uniforms," filed from their camp at Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was a beautiful morning on 15 June 1863, and the 26th, with its three sister regiments of Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew's brigade, was heading off on its first campaign with the vaunted Army of Northern Virginia. "Everything seemed propitious of success," recalled a veteran in later years. It was heady stuff for the virtually unbloodied Tarheels who had been guarding the coastal areas of their native state from Federal invasion. But in a month their uniforms would be worn, and the North Carolinians would learn that war can be horror and hardship as well as beating drums and flaunted colors.[1]

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Gettysburg—The First Day continues Harry Pfanz's superbly researched, beautifully written, and exquisitely detailed study of the battle. The three volumes now in print comprise a great classic, and the best Gettysburg material ever published.—Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain and Lee's Colonels

No one knows and understands the battle of Gettysburg better than Harry W. Pfanz. Since he joined the National Park Service as a historian in 1956, he has never been far from what for the public is America's best-known and most controversial battle. His credentials as a researcher, raconteur, and historian par excellence are attested to by his applauded books on the battle's second and third days. Now, thanks to Pfanz and the University of North Carolina Press, Gettysburg—The First Day fills a void and completes in masterful fashion a trilogy long needed and guaranteed to stand the test of time.—Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus, National Park Service

Meet the Author

Harry W. Pfanz is author of Gettysburg--The Second Day and Gettysburg--Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. He served for ten years as a historian at Gettysburg National Military Park and retired from the position of Chief Historian of the National Park Service in 1981.

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Gettysburg - the First Day (Civil War America Series) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
warpig3 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Pfanz book is not for the faint of heart. It is for the hardcore fan or historian. For all of those that have read other books about Gettysburg and always wanted to know more about the fighting on the individual days this is the book for you. Mr. Pfanz breaks down the whole first days action in detial. This will apeal to military leaders as well. For me individually it was great and a book that I enjoyed. Going through each action in detail gave new insight into what and why it happened on that fateful July morning. Ewell's delay is explained in detail as well as the controversy between Hancock and Howard as to who really did rally the union soldiers on Cementary Hill. This was new to me as I never had heard of this debate before and the controversy lasted long after the battle as well. If you new to Gettysburg or a seasoned fan,I'm sure you'll find new insight into the battle like I did. I also recommend the other books written by Harry W. Pfanz.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I eagerly anticipated reading this lastest book by Mr. Pfanz. In his earlier books covering Gettysburg and the events of July 2nd, he often broke that action and movements of men and equipment down to a company or individual level. This book offers little of that in-depth research that marked his previous efforts. We are introduced to the various generals and some of the enlisted personnel. But, the actual movement of the troops and their subsequent positioning in the battle are left to a more generalized scope. If you are interested in a cursory examination of the events of July 1st, this is your book. If you seek the high level of detail that Mr. Pfanz provided in his July 2nd books, you will be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a re-enactor or a museum curator building battlefield dioramas, you will want this book. Who else will want to know that the 36th stood to the left of the 47th? Poorly written and verbose, this book is long as such tediouness and short on synthesis, analysis and insight. My advice: look elsewhere.