An Interview With The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook Collaborators J.D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley

by James Durney on February 14, 2011 · 1 comment

A chat with Civil War author J. David Petruzzi and cartographer Steven Stanley about their new book project with Savas Beatie

Q: I’m familiar with Savas Beatie’s The New Civil War Handbook and The New American Revolution Handbook, but can you explain the books and their format for those of our readers who are not?

A: This is a very useful reference series and the books are great companions while reading other books on these subjects. For instance, The New Civil War Handbook by Mark Hughes presents a variety of topics such as quotes from participants during the war, which really put a human face on the conflict. The photo section, definitions, names for the war, list of books, websites, etc. all provide wonderful information that the reader can use to do further research. Same with the Revolution handbook, by Theodore Savas and J. David Dameron – the information found in there such as battles, generals, flags, etc., give a background that make reading scholarly works on the Revolutionary period much more enjoyable and easier to understand. One will want to have these books at hand while reading others. And, they stand alone – in and of themselves. Younger audiences will enjoy these handbooks because they provide a concise background on these seminal periods in our history that no other works provide.

Q: So what is the new project you are working on in this series?

A: It’s titled The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook. Based on the format of the other handbooks in the series, this one presents a wide variety of material that covers the entire campaign from the Battle of Brandy Station (June 9, 1863) through the escape of the Confederate Army across the Potomac (July 14, 1863).

Q: How does this book differ from other Gettysburg Guides, including your own The Complete Gettysburg Guide?

A: First, this handbook is complimentary to The Complete Gettysburg Guide – it contains all of the material that we couldn’t fit into the Guide. For instance, this handbook contains, among many other topics, complete Orders of Battle for every single notable conflict during the campaign – large and small – that occurred from June 6 to July 14. That has never been done before. We think that that alone will make this guide a reference work that every reader will want to have handy in order to supplement every other book on the Gettysburg battle and/or campaign. Plus, we have striven to make our Orders of Battle the most complete and accurate – we find many, many errors in other Orders that are available in books and online, and we have corrected them in ours. In addition, we have capsule biographies of the major participants, and lots of useful and fun statistical compilations: for example, Dr. Michael Jacobs’ weather observations at Gettysburg during the battle; the ages of all the participating generals; the dates of their commissions; discussions of the major controversies of the campaign; and so much more!

Q: What new features will your Handbook have that we can look forward to seeing?

A: Those Orders of Battle (there are more than forty of them in the book) for one; the many statistical tables; the discussions of major controversies that arose during the campaign; and we think the Trivia/Interesting Facts section will be an enjoyable read for many!

Q: Are you working on any other projects that you can give us a sneak peek at?

A: Yes! At the suggestion of our publisher, Ted Savas, we are taking those campaign Orders of Battle and expanding that into another, likewise complimentary, project about which we’ll release details soon. Suffice it to say that we sincerely hope it will be another reference that everyone will want to have, and it will be a completely unique presentation of that topic. We are also working on a “Complete Guide” that will cover the Maryland Campaign of 1862 that, like all of these works, will feature the complete design and maps by Steve Stanley.

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