Book Review: Brigades of Antietam: The Union and Confederate Brigades during the 1862 Maryland Campaign: The Union and Confederate Brigades


by Bradley Gottfried, editor

Sharpsburg, Md.: The Antietam Institute, 2021. Pp. iv, 488. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $34.95 paper. ISBN: 979-8218179335

Unit Histories of the Brigades in the Antietam Campaign

Brigades at Antietam uses the format and approach of Gottfried’s earlier Brigades of Gettysburg. As in that volume, it covers the infantry brigades that fought at Antietam, but also includes the cavalry and covers the entire Maryland Companion, from the time the armies left their camps through the preliminary battles (e.g., Harpers Ferry, South Mountain), the great clash at Antietam, and on to the effective end of the campaign at the Battle of Shepherdstown. Gottfried tries to give us a comprehensive look at what each brigade (and thus also divisions and corps) did during the campaign, and succeeds. As he puts it, “each unit is covered in complete and exhaustive detail: where it fought, its commander, what constituted the unit, and how it performed in the campaign,” is quite accurate”.

The book includes many first-hand accounts, as well as information on the regimental and the brigade commanders.

Unlike the Gettysburg book, rather than writing all of the entries himself, Gottfried, worked as a contributor and editor with a group of approximately 25 people, who contributed to the 112 entries. These collaborators include Antietam Certified Guides, park rangers, and other students of these events or of the units that were engaged in them, allowing them to share their knowledge of units dear to them.

The result is a very important and unique reference volume that will be useful to scholars and buffs equally, at times probably surprising some who thought they knew all about the campaign, and will even be of help to those who like to tramp around battle fields.

An innovative, excellent work.


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 previous reviews here include Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 1, "The Bullets Flew Like Hail", John Brown's Raid, Searching For Irvin McDowell, A House Built by Slaves, They Came Only To Die, General Grant and the Verdict of History, Gettysburg In Color, Vol 2, Man of Fire, To the Last Extremity, Hood's Defeat Near Fox's Gap, "If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania", Vol. 2, Outwitting Forrest, All That Can Be Expected, Force of a Cyclone, Lincoln and Native Americans, Detour to Disaster, Lincoln in Lists, A Wilderness of Destruction, Twelve Days, The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour, Stay and Fight it Out, Calamity at Frederick, John T. Wilder, The Sergeant: The Incredible Life of Nicholas Said, and Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks.



Note: Brigades of Antietam is also available in hardcover.


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

Reviewer: David Marshall   

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