“Complete Gettysburg Guide” specifics

Over the past several days, I’ve received quite a number of emails from folks asking about specifics regarding the new book, The Complete Gettysburg Guide, by me and cartographer/photographer Steve Stanley.  Folks would like to know exactly what tours are in it, what the maps are like, etc., and how the book is different than the legion of other Gettysburg tour books available.

For starters, the book features very detailed walking and driving tours usually not included in any other guide.  The main battlefield aside, there are detailed tours of:

* The June 26 skirmish at Marsh Creek
* The June 26 fight at the Witmer Farm (Bailey’s Hill)
* The July 2 fight at Brinkerhoff’s Ridge
* The July 2 fight at Hunterstown
* The July 3 fight at East Cavalry Field
* The July 3 fighting at South Cavalry Field
* The July 3 fight at Fairfield

The main battlefield tour, broken down by July 1 and then the 2nd and 3rd together, contains details of terrain, farms, troop movements, monuments, trivia, etc. not found in other tours.  70 maps, all in full color by Steve, accompany the tours – and one unique feature is that they (where applicable) also contain the existing Park roads shaded in.  This way, you can stand on the ground and see exactly where the troop movements and actions take place around you, even when you don’t have a historical road to pinpoint your location.  It’s a fabulous feature.  For instance, you can stand along Buford Avenue northwest of town and watch the action of Iverson’s attack unfold in front of you.  And for all the tours, Steve has mapped out actions NEVER done before in detail – for instance, the June 26 skirmish at Marsh Creek along the Chambersburg Pike between Gordon’s Brigade/Elijah White’s Cavalry and the 26th PA Militia/Bell’s Adams County Cavalry.  The fight at the Witmer Farm is mapped in detail for the first time.  The opening skirmishes of the battles of Fairfield and Hunterstown have never been mapped before – but you’ll find them in this book.  You will see details mapped of Pickett’s Charge, Barlow’s Knoll, Little Round Top, etc. like they’ve never been done.

There are also tours of:

* Dozens of the major field hospitals surrounding Gettysburg, including Camp Letterman
* A historical walking tour of the town of Gettysburg
* A tour of all known rock carvings (some by veterans of the battle) on the battlefield – this is one of the most interesting features to many folks!
* Walking tour of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (you’ll find the 9 or 10 Confederates mistakenly buried here, the first soldier buried, misidentifications, etc. and much more)
* Walking tour of historic Evergreen Cemetery

Global Positioning (GPS) coordinates are also included for rock carvings, hospital sites, sites on the other battlefields, etc., to assist the tourist in finding locations.  You can take your GPS device or navigator unit with you, and know that you’re on exactly the right spot.

The book is indexed and there’s a complete bibliography of sources.  Publisher Ted Savas is producing the book in hardcover that can easily be taken out on the field and in town, and the book is in full color.  Dozens of Steve’s beautiful full color photos grace the book.  Many, many Park Rangers, Licensed Battlefield Guides, Licensed Town Guides, historians and friends have assisted us to make this book FULL of many things you’ve never known about the battle and the field, and we truly think it will be a journey of discovery to take this book “out there” with you.

Well-known and popular Gettysburg National Military Park Ranger Eric Campbell penned the Forward to the book.  Eric appreciates the importance of the ground and terrain like no one else, and we are honored that he has given his imprimatur to this work.

Click here to go to Amazon’s page for the book.  Signed copies, as well as the Special Signed and Numbered Gettysburg Edition (limited to 100 copies with a specially designed book plate by Steve) are available from us once it’s released about May 15.  The book is about 320 pages total.

As I continue to get specific questions about the book, I’ll post them and explain them here.

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Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 1:19 am  Comments (14)  

This is what it’s all about

The week before last, when I brought the day’s mail to the office, I saw an envelope embossed with the Texas State House in the corner.  The return address was a state senator, Bob Deuell, from the Lone Star State.  Why the heck would I be getting a letter from a Texas State legislator? I thought.  Before opening it, I quickly racked my brain for an answer.  I thought of my days as a college student – let’s see… did I know any girls then from Texas?  Did any of them and I… well…

Then I noticed “M.D.” after his name.  Oooo, I thought.  A senator and a doctor.  Am I being sued?  I’ve never been to Texas, so I couldn’t have wrecked into his car or anything.  Wait, maybe he was recently here in Pennsylvania.  What could I have done?

When I opened it, inside was a letter on which the State House was again embossed at the top.  The letter, dated November 9, was entirely hand-written.  I hope Senator Deuell doesn’t mind, but here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Petruzzi,

My compliments on your book, One Continuous Fight.

I grew up in Martinsburg, W.V. and hunted & fished the Potomac from Williamsport & Shepardstown in the 1960’s.  My mother lives in Falling Waters.

I attended medical school in Richmond (MCU) & did my Family Medicine residency in Harrisburg, Pa.  Needless to say your book hit home.  I have read over 100 books on the War.  Yours is one of the best.

By the way, at MCU one of my attending physicians was Dr. Hunter H. McGuire.

With warmest regards,

Bob Deuell

It doesn’t get any better than that.  All kidding about my college days aside, the letter really made my day once I read it.  My co-authors Eric Wittenberg and Mike Nugent feel the same, and our publisher Ted Savas was very impressed.  It is the appreciation for your work by your readers that keeps you going.  Criticism, too – we learn from both and it makes us better researchers and writers.

I wrote Senator Deuell back on behalf of Eric and Mike, and also sent him a special bookplate signed by the three of us to place inside his copy of One Continuous FightAnd I thought it was very interesting that he had practiced with Dr. Hunter McGuire… evidently, medicine still runs in that family!

Published in: on December 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm  Comments (3)  

“The Complete Gettysburg Guide” now on Amazon and other online sellers

My new book, co-authored by cartographer Steven Stanley, has just been listed on Amazon and is available for pre-order.  (Please note, however, if you’d like a signed copy, you need to order from our website once it’s established, or from Savas Beatie directly).  The Amazon page will give you details about the book.

The release date is May 15, 2009.  We really look forward to its release!

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

The New One…

Yes, yes – I know… “Where have you been, J.D.??”  I haven’t posted in a couple months simply because I’ve been busy finishing up the new book, and we’ve been very busy at the office.  In addition, I’m formatting an entirely new blog on a different host, and will post the link to that once I get it finished.

guide-coverWe’re now ready to release the information on the new book – it’s titled The Complete Gettysburg Guide.”  It is co-authored by master cartographer Steven Stanley (those of you who are members of the Civil War Preservation Trust will be familiar with the beautiful full-color maps that Steve does).  About 70 of Steve’s full-color maps as well as dozens of color photos are in the book.  It’s a larger size, 7×10, entirely in color, hardcover, and over 300 pages. 

This is the book that I’ve meant to do for many years.  I’ve long been dissatisfied with the tour books of the Gettysburg battlefield that are out there, because they miss so much of the field and the story.  With this book, Steve and I hope to rectify that oversight.  Here’s a listing of the detailed tours (including driving directions and GPS coordinates for many of the sites):

* The June 26 skirmish west of town between Early’s forces and the 26th PA Emergency Militia/Bell’s Adams County Cavalry, including the Battle of Witmer Farm (Bailey’s Hill)

* The main battlefield, all three days – including cavalry actions on the flanks on July 1, initial skirmshing in Pitzer’s Woods on the morning of July 2, and Farnsworth’s Charge on July 3.  My tour of the battlefield includes much more ground than even the Park’s driving tour.

* July 2 Battle of Hunterstown (much more detailed than the one that appears in the book by Eric Wittenberg and myself, Plenty of Blame to Go Around.

* July 2 Battle of Brinkerhoff’s Ridge

* July 3 Battle at East Cavalry Field

* July 3 Battle of Fairfield

* The Soldiers’ National Cemetery

* Evergreen Cemetery

* Three dozen of the most prominent field hospital sites surrounding the town

In addition, there’s a section called “Gettysburg on the Web” that details many of the best internet websites for the visitor and scholar.  And a whole lot more.

I’m so pleased that Steven Stanley has graced the book with his maps and photographs – the book is truly a collection of Stanley Gettysburg maps, and all in full color.

Publisher Ted Savas has a link on his website to a description of the book, (Update – click here for the Amazon page for the book) which will be available beginning May 15, 2009.  Here is a link to a video trailer featuring this and other upcoming titles from Savas.  Signed copies will be available, and Steve and I will have a limited number of 100 Special Signed and Numbered Gettysburg Editions available as well.  We will shortly have a website dedicated to the book, which will also be interactive.  I will release the link here once we have the site set up.

Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 5:09 pm  Comments (9)  

“One Continuous Fight” 2nd Edition

As many of you have heard, the first print run of our latest book, One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, recently sold out.  There are still some in the distribution pipelines and at retail locations, but the warehouse is out of copies.  Eric, Mike and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the kind words, very positive reviews, and great things that have been said about the book and the fact that the first edition has sold out so quickly, just like Plenty of Blame to Go Around did shortly after its release in 2006.

Our publisher, Ted Savas, has just finalized and ordered the second edition.  I corresponded with him the past few days as we worked through a few adjustments for the manuscript before it goes to press.  A few typos had slipped into the first printing of the book, and there were a couple short participant quotes that had been accidentally repeated.  We were doing a little last-minute rearranging of some of the material for clarity, and these few typos slipped in, none of which were Savas-Beatie’s fault.  The rearranging was done after all of the editing of the manuscript had already been completed, and we as authors take responsibility for them.  In total, the first edition only has about a dozen very minor typos, and all of them were very easily and quickly fixed for the second edition.  Most readers, in fact, have told us that they didn’t even catch the typos because most were hardly noticable.

The second edition will be available in a couple weeks or so – so anyone waiting for a copy (whether ordered through Amazon, another online retailer, or a storefront) will have theirs very soon!  A few personally signed first editions are still available at regular retail price on our website, even though copies of these are now being offered online by sellers for several hundred dollars each!  We also have a few of the Signed and Numbered Special Gettysburg Editions available there, and once they’re gone they’re gone.  Special Editions of Plenty of Blame have sold out.

Readers have been wildly enthusiastic about the driving/walking tours that we’ve included in the back of the book.  There are two tours – one follows the Confederate wagon train of wounded, the other tracks the main armies to the Potomac and all of the fights and skirmishes along the way.  I continually get emails from folks who have taken one or both of the tours and have enjoyed them, and it’s great hearing that they’ve been so well received.    Going out to the places where these events happened, and seeing the actual ground, terrain features, buildings and roads is the best teacher of all.

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  

Last call

At the risk of sounding like I’m simply peddling books… I just wanted to let my readers know that if they’d like to secure a First Edition of our new book One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, please act quickly.  Especially if you’d like a personally signed first edition, or our Signed and Numbered Gettysburg Edition (limited to 75 copies).  The First Edition is just about gone, and I have very few in stock in the inventory we use to fulfill orders on our book website.  There are only a few of the Gettysburg Edition in stock (these feature a very cool special bookplate and are serial numbered).  If you’d like either, please go here to our website and use the secure online ordering system.  On many online discussions and during personal discussions, I’ve continually heard that the book is very hard to find on bookstore shelves, so the clock is ticking fast on when First Editions will be available. 

Terrific reviews of the book are beginning to show up on Amazon, and I’ve heard so many great comments since its release that Eric, Mike and I wish to thank everyone for their appreciation of the book!  What such positive comments mean to an author are difficult to put into words, and it is very inspiring when folks enjoy your work.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

“One Continuous Fight” Sails

Last night I spoke with Ted Savas, Marketing Director of Savas Beatie LLC, and he informed me that our new book One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 was shipped out from the printer in Michigan yesterday (Wednesday).  So, all you kind folks who have purchased a copy from Savas, ourselves, or any other online venue will be receiving your copy soon!  I was astonished to find out that the first print run (which was sizable) is already pretty much spoken for once the orders hit the warehouse.  A large amount of books are being sent to Gettysburg as I write this, so that I, Eric, and Mike can sign them next week and then they’ll be shipped to customers.

Eric and I were very suprised when Plenty of Blame to Go Around sold out its initial print run just five business days after release, so we’re quite humbled that our new one has done so well already.  We deeply appreciate all of you who have pre-ordered it or are planning to purchase it.  We hope you enjoy the book as much as we did researching and writing it, and that it adds to the scholarship of the Gettysburg story.

Incidentally, when I spoke with Ted last night, he, a friend, and their teenage sons were on their way into an Iron Maiden concert.  I’ll have to check today to see if Ted strained his neck doing all that headbanging.  I did hear once, though, that he’s quit the mosh pit – one time the folks forgot to catch him.  That was the end of that.

Regardless, I bet Bob Younger or Jim McClean never attended a Maiden bash!

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  

The realities of writing

Buddy Eric Wittenberg has made a very revealing series of posts over the past couple of weeks entitled “Things I Wish I Knew Then But Know Now” about the realities (oftentimes harsh realities) of writing about the Civil War.  His posts could apply equally as well to any type of historical writing.  There are 7 installments to Eric’s series and the first one is here.

His posts should be required reading for anyone considering, or starting out, writing about Civil War subjects.  Eric’s insights may not prevent every novice writer from making certain mistakes or experiencing particular common pitfalls, but at least one would realize they’d been warned.  Eric’s insights weren’t meant to turn any promising authors off from pursuing their dreams, but instead to make them aware of the realities of the nuts and bolts of the researching, costs, writing, publishing, and marketing aspects.

In just thinking about the various well-reasoned subjects that Eric posted about, I also thought of another this morning: Be prepared for criticism of your work.  You gotta have a thick skin, folks.  Criticism, both good and bad, of your work will only make you better at your researching, thinking, and writing.  If you’re willing to put your work out there in print in front of thousands of people, you have to be prepared to take some heat.  Some of it will be useful, others not.  Like some authors, some readers have an agenda – and they won’t like your interpretations.  We all get tomatoes thrown at us, and you just have to learn to duck and smile.  But much of the criticism you receive will be very helpful – it will point out weaknesses in your research and you’ll learn a good lesson from it. 

Let’s face it – regarding Civil War history, there are many things that are hard and fast facts.  Many other things are open to interpretation.  And sometimes things in each category can move back and forth – for instance, if some primary source comes to light for the first time and modifies something we previously thought was hard and fast.  You have to learn that a subject you write about may be looked at differently down the road.  Be able to adjust to that.

Previously, I’d mentioned that some authors/historians seem to have an “agenda.”  We all know some whom we call, for lack of a better modifier, “contrarians.”  Some seem to be out to change the historical record no matter what that takes – ignoring some evidence while reinterpreting other evidence.  For some reason, they’re not happy that Gen. Joe Schmo’s cavalry charge happened in a particular place.  Or that a particular unit was in a certain area of a battlefield for a rather mundane reason – they have to make their location a grandiose part of a much larger plan, attempting to reinterpret an entire battle.  No matter that there’s no evidence for these reinterpretations, and that existing evidence, in fact, refutes their new “theories.”  If you’re going to stick your neck out and attempt to change what historians feel to be established fact, then be prepared to take the heat in a mature way and back your interpretations with evidence.  If you’re proven right, you will be deservedly lauded.  If not, you have to roll with it.

So, when you get published (whether it be articles, books, or contributory material) you become somewhat of a public figure.  As in politics, you will get commentary, praise, and criticism from all sides.  Be prepared for it, and deal with it.  Learn from it.  Grow from it.  Stand your ground when necessary and warranted, and be willing to adjust when necessary and warranted.  Let’s face it, all of us authors will blow it from time to time – we will screw up the narration of an event.  We’ll put the wrong person in the wrong place.  We will map something incorrectly.  We’ll put the wrong date on something.  If we keep in mind that we weren’t “there,” and that everything we study and write about is based on the evidence that’s out there, we’ll be able to take shots from readers who, in many cases, may know more about something than we ourselves do.

For one more angle, I would also like to commend a couple of fantastic posts by my publisher, Ted Savas, on his personal blog.  Recently he’s been posting about the “view” from the publisher’s angle, and his posts go hand in hand with Eric’s eye-opening series.  See the first by Ted here, and the second here.  Just as there are many myths about authors and writers, there are many misinterpetations when it comes to publishers.  Ted’s very insightful posts will educate all of us about what publishers must deal with in today’s marketplace and the ever-changing demands of the consumer.

In the end, if you’re a budding author of any genre, don’t let any of what I, Eric, Ted, or others have to say turn you away from it.  Write.  Do it.  And love it.  Giving birth to a book is like putting breath into a child.  You’ll likely never see your investments back, you’ll get criticism, praise, and you’ll be constantly frustrated.

And you will love and treasure every moment of it.  Simply seeing my wife and family smile when one of my articles or books comes out puts a burst of wind into my sails, and I can’t wait to sink my money and time into the next project and do it all over again.

You’ll see.  So stay with it.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:47 am  Comments (5)  

“America’s Civil War” July issue article

My latest article in America’s Civil War magazine just hit newsstands and subscribers’ mailboxes.  Titled “Six Weeks In The Saddle,” the article is a synopsis of Brig. Gen. John Buford’s Federal cavalry division participation in the Gettysburg Campaign, and is accompanied by the 4-map study that I’ve posted about here earlier.  The maps detail the major actions of Buford’s cavalry during July 1 and the morning of July 2, most of the events mapped for the very first time.  Once again, I very much enjoyed working with master cartographer Steve Stanley on those maps.

Just a couple of minor errors crept into the article during the editing process of the magazine.  One is on page 27 – the 2nd and 3rd Federal cavalry divisions were commanded by David Gregg and Alfred Duffie respectively, not the other way around.  And the caption for the picture on that page states that Buford staffer Albert P. Morrow missed Gettysburg – he indeed didn’t join Buford’s staff until August 1863, but he was at Gettysburg, serving as a lieutenant of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (also known as “Rush’s Lancers”).  Morrow was in action on what is today known as South Cavalry Field, on July 3.

I hope the readers enjoy the article, and especially the map study.  Years of work and an enormous amount of digging in very obscure sources contributed to putting those maps together, something I always wished to see in print.  Steve did a fantastic job with them.

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

“One Continuous Fight” website in development

Myself and co-authors Eric Wittenberg and Mike Nugent are currently having our new website for our book developed, and we’ll be unveiling it in the next week or so.  The website will be chock-full of information about the book, our events, an author interview, ordering information for the book as well as our Specially Signed and Numbered Limited First Edition and much more.  We will be having 75 copies of the Special Edition available, and they’ll only be available through the website or at selected events we attend.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

I’ll be revealing the website address once the site is fully developed, and Eric will also have it on his blog.  The book will be available right around June 1.

Stay tuned for more details!

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment