One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863
One Continuous Fight sets out to correct some long held notions about Meade’s performance in the Army of the Potomac’s pursuit of Lee after the Battle of Gettysburg. Authors Wittenberg, Petruzzi, and Nugent succeed marvelously in this endeavor. In the process, they also managed to shed some very detailed light on a much-neglected series of little-known battles for the first time. Researched in great detail, well-written, and entertaining, One Continuous Fight is a book all Civil War readers will want to have in their collections. This is the type of book you get when you mix dedicated, knowledgeable authors with a dedicated, intelligent publisher. At $34.95, the book is competitively priced as well. Buy early and buy often from these authors, and make sure you take a look at the many other Savas Beatie offerings available.
The titanic three-day battle of Gettysburg left 50,000 casualties in its wake, a battered Southern army far from its base of supplies, and a rich historiographic legacy. Thousands of books and articles cover nearly every aspect of the battle, but not a single volume focuses on the military aspects of the monumentally important movements of the armies to and across the Potomac River. One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 is the first detailed military history of Lee’s retreat and the Union effort to catch and destroy the wounded Army of Northern Virginia.Against steep odds and encumbered with thousands of casualties, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee’s post-battle task was to successfully withdraw his army across the Potomac River. Union commander George G. Meade’s equally difficult assignment was to intercept the effort and destroy his enemy. The responsibility for defending the exposed Southern columns belonged to cavalry chieftain James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart. If Stuart fumbled his famous ride north to Gettysburg, his generalship during the retreat more than redeemed his flagging reputation.
The ten days of retreat triggered nearly two dozen skirmishes and major engagements, including fighting at Granite Hill, Monterey Pass, Hagerstown, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, and Falling Waters. President Abraham Lincoln was thankful for the early July battlefield victory, but disappointed that General Meade was unable to surround and crush the Confederates before they found safety on the far side of the Potomac. Exactly what Meade did to try to intercept the fleeing Confederates, and how the Southerners managed to defend their army and ponderous 17-mile long wagon train of wounded until crossing into western Virginia on the early morning of July 14, is the subject of this study.
One Continuous Fight draws upon a massive array of documents, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and published primary and secondary sources. These long-ignored foundational sources allow the authors, each widely known for their expertise in Civil War cavalry operations, to describe carefully each engagement. The result is a rich and comprehensive study loaded with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern and Northern cavalry, and fresh insights on every engagement, large and small, fought during the retreat.
The retreat from Gettysburg was so punctuated with fighting that a soldier felt compelled to describe it as “One Continuous Fight.” Until now, few students fully realized the accuracy of that description. Complimented with 18 original maps, dozens of photos, and a complete driving tour with GPS coordinates of the entire retreat, One Continuous Fight is an essential book for every student of the American Civil War in general, and for the student of Gettysburg in particular.
More Views of the Book:
In, addition, I’d like to point readers to some of those reviews here at the end of my own look at the book:
- Drew Wagenhoffer’s Review at Civil War Books and Authors
- Craig Swain’s “Trip Report” on the Gettysburg Retreat Tour from Appendix A at To the Sound of the Guns
- Paul Taylor’s Look at the Signed Limited Edition of the Book at With Sword and Pen
- Dimitri Rotov’s Glowing Praise of the Book over Several Posts at Civil War Bookshelf
- Midwest Book Review’s Take On The Book
- The Authors’ Official Web Site for One Continuous Fight
Publisher: Savas Beatie, LLC
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 544 Pages