by David L. Shultz
El Dorado Hills: Savas Beatie, 2017. Pp. x, 110.
Illus., maps, append., notes, index. $13.95 paper. ISBN: 1611212723
The Union Artillery and the Defeat of Lee’s Grand Attack
Schultz, who has written several books on Gettysburg, including The Second Day at Gettysburg and The Battle Between the Farm Lanes, takes a very detailed look at the role of the Union artillery in the defeat of Robert E. Lee’s grand assault on July 3rd,, commonly, if inaccurately, known as “Pickett’s Charge.”
After a brief introduction reviewing the campaign and battle through the evening of July 2nd, Schultz opens with a review of with the events of the night of July 2nd-3rd, during which Union artilleryman Henry Hunt organized a massive gun line on Cemetery Ridge. He then divides his account of the events of the 3rd into many very short spans of time, often covering no more than a few minutes. This allows him to cut back and forth between different parts of the front and the actions of particular men, on both sides of the grand attack.
Shcultz makes extensive use of eyewitness accounts of the events, drawing upon memoirs, letters, diaries, and such to offer the reader a very close sense of the action as it unfolded, while offering critical commentary. Nor does he neglect the more technical aspects of the artillery service, which may not be familiar to all readers, and includes a detailed order of battle. Schultz’s approach offers an often gripping account of the critical events of that afternoon.
“Double Canister at Ten Yards” is an excellent look at the Union artillery in action, and will prove a useful read for anyone with an interest in Gettysburg or in the artillery during the Civil War.
Note: “Double Canister at Ten Yards” is also available as e-book, ISBN 978-1-94066-949-6.