Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts

Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts

It's always tricky to review a battlefield guide to a battlefield I've never visited, but Gettysburg is one of the more familiar topics, so I can at least compare this aspect of the book to other similar titles. In this case the trails appear to be logical, with one following the Confederate starting point, one for the Pettigrew-Trimble charge, one for Pickett's famous charge and one for the Union battle line. The instructions are nice and clear and the walks fairly short. I'm not sure the hardcover edition is entirely suitable for use as a walking guide, but the paperback would be light enough.

The supporting historical information is excellent, and provides a well structured account of the Confederate attack, supported by a detailed examination of the ground it took place over.

This is one of the most controversial topics of the entire civil war, and the authors haven't sidestepped those controversies. Instead many of them get entire sections devoted to exploring the claims made by various units (mainly after the war), as does the performance of the various Confederate leaders, from Lee and Longstreet to the individual brigade commanders.

There is also some interesting material on the preservation of the battlefield, yet another area of controversy, with court cases fought over the location of individual monuments in the years after the war (in one case reaching the Supreme Court), and changes in attitude on the correct way to present historical landscapes.

Touring the Fields of 'Pickett's Charge'
Tour One: Confederate Battle Line
Tour Two: Pettigrew - Trimble Charge
Tour Three: Pickett's Charge
Tour Four: Union Battle Line
Pickett's Charge: Orders of Battle

Author: James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Year: 2015

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