"The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour

by Eric J. Wittenberg


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Although many books on Gettysburg have addressed the role played by Brig. Gen. John Buford and his First Cavalry Division troops, there is not a single book-length study devoted entirely to the critical delaying actions waged by Buford and his dismounted troopers and his horse artillerists on the morning of July 1, 1863. Award-winning Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg rectifies this glaring oversight with “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour.

This comprehensive tactical study examines the role Buford and his horse soldiers played from June 29 through July 2, 1863, including the important actions that saved the shattered remnants of the First and Eleventh Corps. Wittenberg relies upon scores of rare primary sources, including many that have never before been used, to paint a detailed picture of the critical role the quiet and modest cavalryman known to his men as “Honest John” or “Old Steadfast” played at Gettysburg.

“The Devil’s to Pay” also includes a detailed walking and driving tour of pertinent sites, complete with GPS coordinates. Three appendices address the nature of Buford’s defense at Gettysburg, whether his troopers were armed with repeating weapons, and whether a feint by his men late in the day caused the Confederate infantry to form “squares” (a Napoleonic defensive tactic). Finally, 17 maps by Gettysburg cartographer Phil Laino, together with more than 80 images, several published for the first time, round out this study. “The Devil’s to Pay” is a must-have for Gettysburg enthusiasts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611214444
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Publication date: 07/06/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Sales rank: 384,249
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg has authored over 21 books on various Civil War subjects, with particular focus on cavalry operations, as well as three dozen articles in popular magazines such as North & South, Blue&Gray, America’s Civil War, and Gettysburg Magazine. His first book, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions (Thomas Publications, Gettysburg PA, 1998) won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award. The second edition won the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award, for Reprint, 2011. His 2014 book, “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour, was awarded the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable’s 2015 Book Award.

Wittenberg is a favored speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of various Civil War battlefields and related sites. He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station and Brandy Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located at Trevilian Station. He lives in Columbus with his wife Susan and their beloved dogs. Visit Eric J. Wittenberg's website: http://www.ericwittenberg.com

Table of Contents

Author's Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Foreword xii

Chapter 1 John Buford and his Troopers 1

Chapter 2 Marching to Pennsylvania 26

Chapter 3 June 30, 1863 42

Chapter 4 The Night Before the Battle: June 30-July 1, 1863 62

Chapter 5 Opening the Ball: Early Morning, July 1, 1863 74

Chapter 6 The Devil's to Pay: Buford Holds On 103

Chapter 7 Gamble Saves the First Corps 132

Chapter 8 Unshaken and Undaunted 148

Chapter 9 The Night of July 1-2, 1863 157

Chapter 10 Devin's Brigade Skirmishes in Pitzer's Woods 163

Chapter 11 Buford Departs the Battlefield 172

Conclusion: An Assessment of John Buford's Performance in the Battle of Gettysburg 181

Epilogue 197

Appendix A Order of Battle, Morning, July 1, 1863 205

Appendix B The Myth of the Spencers 208

Appendix C What was the Nature of John Buford's Defense at Gettysburg? 213

Appendix D Did James Lane's Confederate Brigade form Infantry Squares in Echelon on the Afternoon of July 1, 1863? 218

A Walking and Driving Tour 225

Bibliography 247

Index 263

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"The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour. 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have been a long-time fan and admirer of John Buford and the role he played in the Battle of Gettysburg. This excellent book provides many details of which I was unaware, and completes the picture of the Cavalry presence and role at the Battle.