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Posted March 5, 2015
Silent Sentinels details the significance of artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg. This title is a reference guide, tour book and trivia book that will enhance all students understanding of happened at this small town in Pennsylvania and why. While there have been many volumes on this turning point of the Civil war, there have been very few complete works on just artillery and its role during July 1-3, 1863.
George Newton explains several reasons why Northern artillery enjoyed a distinct advantage on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The main answer is quanity and quality. Additionally, it is argued that organization and leadership played an important role as well. Federal armament, organization and utilization contributed to the ultimate victory in this battle. Interesting how both Federal's and Confederate's are compared ands shown to have played significant roles in the fighting and ultimate victory for the Army of the Potomac.
The author allows the battlefield tramper to explore the field at Gettysburg both with a licensed Battlefield Guide as well as on your own using this book as a reference together with the National Military Parks own tour guide. This manuscript allows both the Civil War buff and novice to better comprehend how all cannon were employed; how effective they were; how they were used by both armies; how to identify the different type of cannons and the essential role it played during the three day battle. Additionally, Newton provides an order of fighting(with losses), a helpful glossary of artillery terms; information on the park's collection on guns and pieces on display on the field today. The writer does not attempt to detail the troop movements and action of every piece of artillery, infantry unit, or cavalry units. There is sufficient background information to place the engagement in historical perspective but the artillery remains the focus of the narrative.
This work starts with an overview of the campaign. Subsequent chapters include a brief history of Civil War artillery and how it worked, select photographs, quotations from participants from both sides to permit a better understanding of what it was like to be in the battle and the tour itself. Diagrams of guns and carriages are provided to enhance understanding for serious students. The last chapters include Gettysburg artillery, trivia that will increase interest and knowledge.
The five appendices that conclude the book offers a great deal of information on the organization and losses of the artillery arms of both armies and include descriptions for each battery. Additional data is set up with a listing by state that will help anyone trying to locate a specific battery including tables that provide the number of guns by type and casualties by brigade battalion.
Newton attempts to allow readers to better realize what officers experienced during the battles by reproducing several official reports taken straight from the Official Records of the War of the rebellion. The author felt that reading these reports and accompanying biographies of several officers, while touring the battlefield will better allow visitors to learn and kindle their interest to return over and over to this national treasure.
George W. Newton graduated from McMurray University in Albany, Texas. He served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and is a retired executive from the insurance industry. Additionally, the final manuscript was reviewed and helped by historians and Licensed Battlefield Guides, Susan Boardman, Terri Latscher, Wayne Motts, Bob Martin, Kathy Pieszak and George Gargus.
After reading this much needed title published by Savas-Beatie in 2005, an individual can almost visualize the soldiers running in the double quick across the fields and smelling the smoke of cannons. Very informative reference guide and if you are an enthusiast, academic or just love artillery, you have the opportunity to add this recommended book to your overcrowded knapsack. While readable and concise, Silent Sentinels fills a void on Artillery at Gettysburg.
Posted May 27, 2011
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