Book Review: Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns


by Bradley M. Gottfried

Fayetteville, Pa.: Turning Point Publications, 2023. Pp. 498. Maps, tables, appends., notes, index. $29.99 paper. ISBN: 0578284448

Comparing Lee’s Two Invasions of the North

In this new work Gettysburg licensed town guide and Antietam certified battlefield guide Bradley Gottfried, author of several works in Civil War history, gives us what is the first book to make detailed comparisons between Robert E. Lee’s two incursions into the North, the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863. This approach allows Gottfried to demonstrate how the two campaigns compared with each other, and helps explain why Lee was unsuccessful in destroying the Army of the Potomac and ending the war.

Gottfried’s innovative and unusual approach not only covers the leaders, but makes use of over 30 valuable tables that illustrate the differences in both armies between the two campaigns. So, for example, comparing the orders of battle for each army in each campaign reveals notable similarities and differences, with important consequences for the way events unfolded. He shows us that although the number of divisions, brigades, and regiments in Lee’s army in both campaigns was more or less the same, the size of the force – i.e. his manpower -- was double at Gettysburg. Likewise, in both armies, there were many differences in the number of cannon each army fielded, but not many differences in the types of pieces employed in each campaign.

The book is organized into four parts:

         · Why Lee undertook each campaign, and the preparation by both armies; 

   · Maneuvers and movements getting to the battlefield;
   · The major battles of each campaign, and 
  · The aftermath of each battle, as the armies retired, to the end of the campaign’s events.

In each part, Gottfried first addresses the Antietam campaign and then the Gettysburg, drawing some conclusions about the comparisons. In this way he provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of the campaigns and the two principal battles of Antietam and Gettysburg, within the military and political environment. Naturally we get a look at the armies and their leaders; the changing situation as the armies move and fight, intelligence, terrain, and so forth. After which he makes some final general observations and judgements.

Lee Invades the North is not the “be all and end all” of the study of these operations, but it breaks new ground in a way that Gottfried hopes will stimulate additional research.

This reviewer highly recommends Lee Invades the North as an exceptional and valuable comparative accunt of the two campaigns.


Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His previous reviews here include Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 1, "The Bullets Flew Like Hail", John Brown's Raid, Searching For Irvin McDowell, A House Built by Slaves, They Came Only To Die, General Grant and the Verdict of History, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 2, Man of Fire, To the Last Extremity, Hood's Defeat Near Fox's Gap, "If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania", Vol. 2, Outwitting Forrest, All That Can Be Expected, Force of a Cyclone, Lincoln and Native Americans, Detour to Disaster, Lincoln in Lists, A Wilderness of Destruction, Twelve Days, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour, Stay and Fight it Out, Calamity at Frederick, John T. Wilder, The Sergeant: The Incredible Life of Nicholas Said, Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks, and Brigades of Antietam.



Note: Lee Invades the North is also available in hardcover.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: David Marshall   

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