“Farnsworth’s Charge” – Right vs. Wrong

In the new issue of Blue&Gray Magazine just on the shelves (Summer 2007, Special Gettysburg Issue) is printed the letter by myself and Eric Wittenberg refuting Gettysburg LBG Andrea Custer’s revisionist theory on the charge.  Behind it is Custer’s response to us.  Our original letter was about 5500 words, but it had to be edited down to 2500 for the issue due to space limitations.  Therefore, later today, Eric will be posting the entire 5500-word response on his blog

Either tonite or tomorrow, I will be posting here our additional refutation of the points she makes in her response.  We believe that her theory (published in B&G last summer) about the location of the charge and timing of Farnsworth’s death is incorrect and easily disproven by the evidence.  In fact, the evidence is easily used against her theory.  In her published response, Custer makes assertions based on our letter that need a reponse.

My apologies again for the lack of posting over the past couple of weeks.  I spent most of my free time last week working on revisions of the manuscript on the Retreat from Gettysburg by myself, Eric, and Mike Nugent.  As Eric has posted on his blog recently, we’ve changed the scope of the book a bit, and we believe it is now a truly scholarly account of the retreat as well as the decision-making of the leaders of both sides.  I’m also currently working on one of the appendices to the book, a narrative of Federal Cavalry Corps commander Alfred Pleasonton’s role in the three Councils of War that Meade called during the campaign – we think it will be quite interesting, and a subject never explored in such detail before.

Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 4:45 pm  Comments (2)  

New book on Gettysburg Retreat in production

My apologies for not posting for nearly two weeks – it’s been incredibly busy!  My wife has been helping our daughter move to her college apartment, while I’ve been very busy in the office and with other businesses.  However, one thing that’s been taking up some time lately is final work on the manuscript of a new book…

Several years ago, Eric Wittenberg, Mike Nugent, and I completed the bulk of the work on a scholarly work about the retreat from Gettysburg.  We were finishing ours up at about the same time Kent “Bat” Masterson Brown was completing his great book on the subject.

So how is ours different from Brown’s?

Where Brown concentrated on the logistical aspects of the retreat, our book goes into very deep details of the nearly two dozen fights and skirmishes that occurred from July 4 until July 14 when the Army of Northern Virginia finally crossed the river.  Our chronological narrative features the fighting, with the logistics as a background.  Brown’s book is more the opposite.  The two books together will finally give readers the full story of the Gettysburg retreat.

In addition, our book will also feature two detailed driving/walking tours of both the main retreat column and the Wagon Train of Wounded, from Gettysburg to the river.  On both tours we were greatly assisted by retreat guru Ted Alexander.  Think of this book as very much like Eric’s and my Stuart’s Ride book in scope, but on the retreat.

The book will be published by Savas Beatie LLC, the publisher of our Stuart book – and we couldn’t be more pleased.  Savas does an absolutely wonderful book.  The fine maps (lots of ’em!) were done by the skilled Ed Coleman.

Release is expected by next year’s anniversary (perhaps May-June 2008) and I’ll keep everyone posted here as the book progresses.

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 1:44 pm  Comments (16)  

“Custer’s Trap” comment by a reader

My thanks to reader Ed Rowe (a descendant of a Cobbs Legion cavalry trooper) for the following comment posted today on a previous post about the nonsense theories about Hunterstown:

Hi Mr. Petruzzi,

Thanks for setting the record straight on what really happened at Hunterstown a hundred and forty-four years ago today! Obviously I agree with everything in your post. Unfortunately though, I believe there are many people out there who believe Troy Harmon’s version of the battle.

I had never heard of Hunterstown until the mid-1990s when I was visiting Gettysburg for my first time. As I was wandering through one of the shops downtown, I just happened to pick up issue one of the Gettysburg Magazine and as I was browsing through it, I came across Paul M. Shevchuk’s excellent article about the battle there. What really caught my attention was the map showing how close companies C and H of Cobb’s Legion Cavalry Battalion had come to the Union line just beyond the Felty barn. One of my great-great grandfathers, Thomas Jordan Dunnahoo, was in company H. It’s almost a miracle that every man in both of these companies wasn’t captured, killed or wounded. Company H only lost two men, a private and a lieutenant, neither being my ancestor. Company C lost three men, two privates and a lieutenant. I think the escape from harm of most of the men in these two companies helps to disprove Mr. Harmon’s theory, in addition to all of the sources of info

referenced in Mr. Shevchuk’s article. After purchasing a couple of copies of issue one of the GM, I was off to find Hunterstown to see what was still there. I was amazed that I could find right where Custer’s charge and the Cobb’s Legion Cavalry countercharge had taken place on Hunterstown Road and I was even more amazed that the Felty barn was still there. Much like the Felty barn no longer exists today, I don’t think a plan to set a trap for the Confederates by Custer existed back then. Thanks again for the great post!

Ed Rowe

Titusville, FL

Thank you, Ed, your comments are very much appreciated.  Let’s indeed hope that silly theories such as these do as little harm to the historical record as possible.

Published in: on July 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm  Comments (1)