Book Review: Gettysburg in Color: Volume 1: Brandy Station to the Peach Orchard


by Patrick Brennan

El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2022. Pp. x, 224. Illus., maps, biblio., index. $37.50. ISBN: 1611216095

Images of the Gettysburg Campaign through July 1st, 1863

This is the first of two volumes by the Brennans on the Gettysburg campaign that makes extensive use of hundreds of images of soldiers, places, battles, and more, all in color. The original black and white images, both photographs and engravings, have been electronically rendered into color, while the many images of paintings that are included are reproduced in their original color. This rather "invigorates" our mental image of the events, suggesting a more realistic idea of how these people, places, and events actually looked, in contrast to our perception of the war in black and white.

Every page has one or more images, and often clear, well-constructed maps, that provide close ups of many moments of the clash between Union and Confederate troops, from the onset of the Gettysburg Campaign at Brandy Station on June 9, 1863, to the fighting at Gettysburg on July 2nd. A second volume, to follow shortly, will cover events from the 2nd through the final act at Falling Waters on the 14th.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is the discussion of how it came to be, as a sort of family project, involving not just Patrick and Dylan, but others as well. Various family members collected images from Google Earth Pro, digitizing them to remove modern intrusions, while others navigated the complex world of digital rights, designed the look of the maps, and carefully critiqued every image to draw what might be learned from it. Then, “the Brennans used an artificial intelligence-based computerized color identifier to determine the precise color of uniforms, flesh, hair, equipment, terrain, houses, and much more”, all wrapped up in a well-researched seventy thousand-word account of the Gettysburg Campaign.

The Brennans have provided readers with a new way to enjoy and learn about the battle of Gettysburg, and the book will likely be useful for visitors to the battlefield, seeking to learn more about the events

This reviewer was thrilled and amazed by the inventiveness, audacity, and dedication that went into this work, and recommends it highly.


Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His most recent previous reviews here include When Hell Came To Sharpsburg, Lost Causes, Six Miles From Charleston, Five Minutes to Hell, "If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania", James Montgomery: Abolitionist Warrior, Cedar Mountain to Antietam, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Count the Dead, All Roads Led To Gettysburg, Unhappy Catastrophes, The Heart of Hell, The Whartons' War, Gettysburg’s Southern Front , Civil War Monuments and Memorials, The Tale Untwisted, The Confederate Military Forces in the Trans-Mississippi West, The Civilian War, The Carnage was Fearful, The Civil Wars of Joseph E. Johnston, Confederate States Army, Vol. I, and Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South.



Note: Gettysburg In Color, Vol 1is also available in e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: David Marshall   

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