by John Michael Priest
This is unlike any other Gettysburg book you will ever read. Instead of a dry recitation of the facts, “Stand to It and Give Them Hell”: Gettysburg as the Soldiers Experienced it from Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top, July 2, 1863 chronicles the desperate marching, fighting, command decisions, and suffering as depicted in the letters, memoirs, diaries, and postwar recollections of the men from both armies who struggled to control that “hallowed ground.” This invaluable methodology uses the words of those who lived these events to paint a rich tapestry of personal courage, cowardice, failures, and triumphs.
John Michael Priest, dubbed the “Ernie Pyle” of the Civil War soldier by legendary historian Edwin C. Bearss, wrote this book to help readers understand and experience, as closely as possible through the written word, the stress, exhaustion, suffering, and sheer terror of that fateful day in Pennsylvania. Readers of all interest levels will gain a deeper appreciation of the personal sacrifice made by privates and generals alike.
The hundreds of word portraits are supported by 58 detailed original maps, most on the regimental level. In addition to illustrating the tremendous troop congestion in the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard, and Devil’s Den, they accurately establish, by regiment or by company, the extent of the Federal skirmish line from Ziegler’s Grove to the Slyder farm, and portray the final Confederate push against the Codori farm and the center of Cemetery Ridge, against which three Confederate divisions (in what is popularly known as Pickett’s Charge) would unsuccessfully attack on the final day of fighting on July 3.
“Stand to It and Give Them Hell” is a book about combat as seen through the eyes of those who waged it. There is no glamour here, and no adventure. Nor are there accusations, axes to grind, or second-guessing from the comfort of an easy chair. Instead, Priest’s most ambitious book offers the brutal, heart wrenching story of a slice of America’s greatest battle as described by those who marched, fought, bled, and died there. These are their stories, and ones you will long remember.
- 528 pages
- S/L #29481