The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses
J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley, Savas Beatie
This is the final entry in J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley’s trilogy of Gettysburg Campaign guides, joining The Complete Gettysburg Guide and The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook. (Don’t confuse this with John Busey and David Martin’s seminal book Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg, which has undergone several editions since its first release 31 years ago, and which had little narrative.) Petruzzi and Stanley deliver a more reader-friendly experience, with synopses of every engagement, illustrated with one of Stanley’s easy-to-follow maps. Full orders of battle are provided, with estimates of the number of men present, killed, wounded, mortally wounded and missing. This is a handy resource to have on the battlefields.
Numbers used in conjunction with narrative accounts can be enlightening. How often have you wanted to fact-check when you read about “a single volley that felled every man”? Take, for example, Brig. Gen. Elon J. Farnsworth’s cavalry charge late on July 3, which assumedly had no chance of success. Thanks to this book, we learn Farnsworth’s 1st Brigade of Judson Kilpatrick’s 3rd Division of the Army of the Potomac’s Cavalry Corps, with 1,924 men, lost 23 men (19 killed, four mortally wounded) during the three-day battle (a total casualty rate of 5.2 percent). By comparison, the Army of the Potomac overall absorbed casualties of 24.7 percent. I guess being in the cavalry wasn’t so dangerous after all.
Originally published in the December 2013 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.