by Bradley M. Gottfried
New York: Da Capo: 2002. 697.
Maps, notes, index. $50.00. ISBN:0-306-81175-8
For more than a century the regiment was the focus of Civil War studies about combat units. In recent years, however, there has been an increased realization of the importance of the brigade, which on both sides was the primary tactical unit, and, again on both sides, remained remarkably stable organizationally for most of the war. The result has been several valuable works on some of the more notable brigades in both armies, such as the Union’s “Iron Brigade” and the Confederacy’s “Stonewall Brigade.” With Brigades of Gettysburg
Dr. Bradley M. Gottfried, already the author of three earlier works on the Civil War and Gettysburg, presents us with a reference guide to all of the brigades that took part in the battle.
Drawing upon official documents, regimental histories, memoirs, and private correspondence, Dr. Gottfried recounts the history of each of the brigades briefly, but adequately, in a readable form, from their formation through the end of the Battle of Gettysburg, which constitutes, quite naturally, the bulk of the four to six double-columned pages devoted to the treatment of each brigade. The accounts include short statistical summaries of each brigade’s strength and losses in the battle, a brief profile of the brigade commander, and an account of its role in the battle through the medium of first hand observations by officers and soldiers. In addition, there is a shorter, generally one or two page, account of the history of each of the corps and divisions in each army, so that the organizational structure within which the brigades functioned can be better understood.
Brigades of Gettysburg is a very useful book not only for students of Gettysburg, but of the Civil War in the East.