Civil War Book Review: Fury on the Bliss Farm at Gettysburg

by James Durney on February 25, 2013 · 0 comments

FuryOnTheBlissFarmAtGettysburgArcher Civil War Book Review: <i>Fury on the Bliss Farm at Gettysburg</i>Fury on the Bliss Farm at Gettysburg
by John M. Archer

Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Roads Publishing, LLC. (June 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983721394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983721390
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches

Starting July 4, 1863 and continuing until they died the participants wrote and talked about Gettysburg. The public’s appetite for Gettysburg, caused one author observed that writing about Gettysburg is “a cottage industry”. For all of the books, magazines and movies, the Bliss Farm is almost unknown.  This story is lost in the fighting on the first, Longstreet’s attack and Pickett’s Charge. This is the only book, currently in print, that I can find on the subject and one of two listed on Amazon.

The Bliss Farm is between Seminary and Cemetery Ridge just off the Emmetsburg Road. In 1863, it is a prosperous place, dominated by a 3-story barn that draws skirmishers.  The barn and other farm buildings are the objective in a battle within the battle. Starting on the Second, both sides fight to control the barn and the farm.  For the Confederates, the barn is a sniper’s nest to attack the Union artillerymen. As an observation post, they are slighting higher than the Union position giving them an unparallelled view. In addition to denying the Confederates a sniper’s nest and observation post, Union control is an advanced strong point that can warn of any attacks. For about 36 hours, men from the divisions of Anderson, Pender, Gibbon and Hays fight over this prize. The author estimates about 4,500 men created over 800 casualties trying to control the farm. This small battle could have contributed to defeating the attack on Cemetery Ridge on the night of the second. About mid-day on the Third, the Union skirmishers burn the barn and house ending the battle.

The author has considerable knowledge and communicates well. He mixes contemporary accounts with his observations to create a readable account.  Maps, illustrations and photographs enhance the writing. The most valuable part of the book is a walking tour of the fighting.  This is invaluable. Knowing what I wanted to find, I had problems picking out a “possibly” site.

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