Review: Crossroads of the Conflict: Defining Hours for the Blue and Gray: A Guide to the Monuments of Gettysburg

Donald W. McLaughlin. Crossroads of the Conflict: Defining Hours for the Blue and Gray: A Guide to the Monuments of Gettysburg. Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, Inc. (June 2, 2008). 376 pages, numerous maps, index. ISBN: 978-1432722876 $34.95 (Paperback).

Don McLaughlin’s years spent as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg from 1983 to 1997 along with nearly 10 years of research have culminated in this posthumously published work covering every single Gettysburg monument.  Presented in chronological order and accompanied by numerous hand-drawn maps, Crossroads of the Conflict is an ideal traveling companion for those looking for specific monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield.

McLaughlin’s book provides a brief summary for each of the 1300+ monuments and 400+ pieces of artillery which blanket the battlefield.  The author provides the numerical designation of regiments and batteries, how they fit within the Brigade-Division-Corps structure of their army, nicknames, and whatever description of the unit’s activity on the battlefield was included on each monument.

The maps detail exactly where on the field of battle these multitudes of monuments are located.  I appreciated the attention to detail, but I would have liked these better had the maps been drawn to scale.  In any case, the sheer number of maps, a must in a book covering this topic, was definitely appreciated.

This self-published effort through Outskirts Press does have some noticeable spelling and grammatical errors, but not enough to detract from the overall value of the book.

In order to truly appreciate the usefulness of this book, we need to look at the background of its author, the late Don McLaughlin.  Mr. McLaughlin loved Gettysburg so much he actually moved there to be closer to the battlefield!  According to the book’s introduction, he spent nearly 10 years chronicling these monuments to the men who fought there.  McLaughlin used his research in his work as a Licensed Battlefield Guide for 14 years.  If anyone knows about the monuments contained within the Park boundaries at Gettysburg, the author does.

If you are at all interested in the Battle of Gettysburg, are a battlefield tramper, or are looking to visit Gettysburg in the future, Crossroads of the Conflict is a must have first rate reference work and a unique tribute from family to a man who loved history.

Thanks goes to Judy McLaughlin of Delanson Publishing.

Note: Civil War Librarian had some information on Crossroads of the Conflict not too long ago.  Look for several more posts here on TOCWOC, including a look at some sample maps and an interview with Don McLaughlin’s daughters about their publishing efforts.

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