Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg: The Battles for Brinkerhoff's Ridge and East Cavalry Field, July 2 -3, 1863by Eric Wittenberg
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Few aspects of the battle of Gettysburg are as misunderstood as the role played by the cavalry of both sides. Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, July 2-3, 1863 by award-winning author Eric J. Wittenberg is the first and only book to examine in significant detail how the mounted arm directly affected the outcome of the battle.
On July 3, 1863, a large-scale cavalry fight was waged on Cress Ridge four miles east of Gettysburg. There, on what is commonly referred to as East Cavalry Field, Union horsemen under Brig. Gen. David M. Gregg tangled with the vaunted Confederates riding with Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart. This magnificent mounted clash, however, cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of what happened the previous day at Brinkerhoff’s Ridge, where elements of Gregg’s division pinned down the legendary infantry of the Stonewall Brigade, preventing it from participating in the fighting for Culp’s Hill that raged that evening.
Stuart arrived at Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 2 after his long ride around the Army of the Potomac just in time to witness the climax of the fighting at Brinkerhoff’s Ridge, and spot good ground for mounted operations one ridge line to the east. Stuart also knew that Gregg’s troopers held the important Hanover and Low Dutch road intersection, blocking a direct route into the rear of the Union center. If Stuart could defeat Gregg’s troopers, he could dash thousands of his own men behind enemy lines and wreak havoc. The ambitious offensive thrust resulted the following day in a giant clash of horse and steel on East Cavalry Field. The combat featured artillery duels, dismounted fighting, hand-to-hand engagements, and the most magnificent mounted charge and countercharge of the entire Civil War.
This fully revised edition of Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg is the most detailed tactical treatment of the fighting on Brinkerhoff’s Ridge yet published, and includes a new Introduction, a detailed walking and driving tour with GPS coordinates, and a new appendix refuting claims that Stuart’s actions on East Cavalry Field were intended to be coordinated with the Pickett/Pettigrew/Trimble attack on the Union center on the main battlefield.
About the Author: Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished Civil War historian, author, and attorney. He has written more than a dozen books and a score of articles in popular magazines. Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award and the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award for Reprint, 2011.
- Savas Beatie
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Meet the Author
Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished Civil War historian, author, and attorney. He has written more than a dozen books and a score of articles in popular magazines. Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award and the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award for Reprint, 2011.
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The publisher of the 2002 edition allowed this well received book to go out of print. This valuable study stayed on the shelf the first publishing contract ended. The author admits this book is one of his "favorites" and always wanted to see it back in print. Savas Beatie accepted the book for publication and we have a 2013 edition. New editions of books are always questionable. Often "New" consists of little more than additional editing, moving the illustrations around and new cover art. When this happens, you quickly realize this is not really from the book you read n years ago. Neither the author nor the publisher wanted this type of "New" edition. Eric Wittenberg felt the original was "a bit muddled in places" and wished to fix this. The discovery of official reports to and from Custer on the fighting in the East Cavalry Field created an opportunity to include additional vital materials. In 2005, Lost Triumph: Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg and Why It Failed has Stuart and Pickett making a coordinated attack on July 3. Principally those who cannot believe Lee ordered unsupported attacks accept this idea. The new edition takes a detailed look at this idea in a twenty-page appendix. Lastly, the landscape at Gettysburg has changed since 2002; the new Visitor's Center is an important one. Equally important is the personal GPS, which is now a common item. These changes caused a rewrite of the driving tour. All of the above went into this edition. The result is a more detailed study that is more understandable and readable. This is as much a new book as it is a new edition and it should be in your library.
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She sighed and curled up, then fell asleep.