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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rantings of a Civil War Historian Eric Wittenberg has co-Authored a book with J. David Petruzzi that looks really interesting – “Plenty of Blame to Go Around: JEB Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg" which looks to be released on September 4th. Eric’s site is one that I visit on a daily basis and one that I would suggest that you go read right now. It is always interesting and very thoughtful and to be honest, something I aspire to be like.

If you act now, you may be able to get your hands on a limited edition copy that is signed by the authors (limited to 100) by preordering with the publisher, Savas Beatie. Since I already have my copy purchased, I have no problem telling others that they too can get a copy!

The authors have also launched a site for the book which you can view here.

If you are waiting for a review, once I get my copy, I will be sure to post one. Until then – here is the publisher’s summary –

June 1863. The Gettysburg Campaign is in its opening hours. Harness jingles and hoofs pound as Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart leads his three brigades of veteran troopers on a ride that triggers one of the Civil War’s most bitter and enduring controversies. Instead of finding glory and victory—two objectives with which he was intimately familiar—Stuart reaped stinging criticism and substantial blame for one of the Confederacy’s most stunning and unexpected battlefield defeats. In Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi objectively investigate the role Stuart’s horsemen played in the disastrous campaign. It is the most comprehensive and thoughtful book ever written on this important and endlessly fascinating subject.

Stuart left Virginia under acting on General Robert E. Lee’s discretionary orders to advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he was to screen Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s marching infantry corps and report on enemy activity. The mission jumped off its tracks from virtually the moment it began when one unexpected event after another unfolded across Stuart's path. For days, neither Lee nor Stuart had any idea where the other was, and the enemy blocked the horseman’s direct route back to the Confederate army, which was advancing nearly blind north into Pennsylvania. By the time Stuart reached Lee on the afternoon of July 2, the armies had unexpectedly collided at Gettysburg, the second day's fighting was underway, and one of the campaign’s greatest controversies was born.

Did the plumed cavalier disobey Lee’s orders by stripping the army of its “eyes and ears?” Was Stuart to blame for the unexpected combat the broke out at Gettysburg on July 1? Authors Wittenberg and Petruzzi, widely recognized for their study and expertise of Civil War cavalry operations, have drawn upon a massive array of primary sources, many heretofore untapped, to fully explore Stuart’s ride, its consequences, and the intense debate among participants shortly after the battle, through early post-war commentators, and among modern scholars.

The result is a richly detailed study jammed with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern cavalry, and fresh insights on every horse engagement, large and small, fought during the campaign.

About the Authors:
Ohio Attorney Eric J. Wittenberg is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of some dozen books and two dozens articles on the Civil War. His first book, Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions, won the 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award. His most recent book is The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign (Savas Beatie LLC, 2005)

J. David Petruzzi
is the author of many magazine articles on Eastern Theater cavalry operations, conducts tours of cavalry sites of the Gettysburg Campaign, and is the author of the popular “Buford’s Boys” website at Petruzzi lives in Brockway, Pennsylvania.


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