'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg

'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg

John Buford' cavalry brigade was the first significant Union force to be engaged during the battle of Gettysburg, holding up the initial Confederate advance, and after a hard fight winning time for the first Union infantry to arrive and take up the defensive positions that were held during the rest of the battle (although admittedly not the actual positions that Buford was defending).

We start with a brief biography of Buford, a look at his cavalry career, and the units under his command at Gettysburg. We then follow their path to the battlefield, before we reach the heart of the book - four chapters that look at the fighting on 1 July 1863. Buford's men held up the Confederate advance on Gettysburg town, and won time for the Union infantry to arrive, starting with I Corps. Although the Confederates did manage to capture the town late in the day, the Union infantry was able to hold the ridges to the south of the town, where the more famous fighting of 2-3 July took place.

The battle is portrayed from both sides, with plenty of good information on the attacking Confederate units and their experience of the battle, and on the advancing Union infantry, starting with Reynold's I Corps. The excellent text is supported by a large number of useful detailed maps that help illustrate the action.

Away from the main text there is an good examination of the suggestion that some of Buford's men had repeating rifles at Gettysburg, a fairly common claim that is firmly dismissed here.

The result is an excellent account of how one unit fits into the wider battle, supported by good material on their opponents and allies.

Chapters
1 - John Buford and his Troopers
2 - Marching to Pennsylvania
3 - June 30, 1863
4 - The Night Before the Battle: June 30- July 1, 1863
5 - Opening the Ball: Early Morning, July 1, 1863
6 - The Devil's to Pay: Buford Holds On
7 - Gamble Saves the First Corps
8 - Unshaken and Undaunted
9 - The Night of July 1-2, 1863
10 - Devin's Brigade Skirmishes in Pitzer's Woods
11 - Buford Departs the Battlefield
Conclusion: An Assessment of John Buford's Performance in the Battle of Gettysburg

Appendices
A - Order of Battle, Morning, July 1, 1863
B - The Myth of the Spencers
C - What was the Nature of John Buford's Defense at Gettysburg
D - Did James Lane's Confederate Brigade form Infantry Squares in Echelon on the Afternoon of July 1, 1863

A Walking and Driving Tour

Author: Eric J. Wittenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 264
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Year: 2015


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