"The Battle of Gettysburg," The North American
Review 198, no. 622 (1913): 139-140.
"The Battle of Gettysburg," Overland Monthly
& Out West Magazine 62 (1913): 206-207.
Nation 97 (1913):
"The Battle of Gettysburg,"
The North American Review 198, no. 622 (1913): 139-140.
The Battle of Gettysburg. By Jesse Bowman Young. New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1913.
The full significance, the full tragedy, the whole mechanism of a great
battle - these are things hard to grasp. Not only is information scattered
and difficult of access, but the entire phenomenon is of a complexity
requiring profound study. When, however, it is given us through the
labors of another to understand, as a whole and in detail, such a battle
as that of Gettysburg, we feel that we are privileged to be present
at the most tremendous scene of one of the greatest drama in history.
Such is the effect upon us by Jesse Bowman Young's The Battle of
Gettysburg. The book has the earnestness, the sense of the grim
realities of war, that one expects in the reminiscences of a veteran.
It has also a comprehensiveness and thoroughness which could only result
from years of investigation and careful study. The author, he tells
us, "although but a stripling, was an officer in the battle."
Attached to the staff of Brigadier-General Andrew A. Humphreys, he had
somewhat exceptional opportunities to be in personal touch with the
great movement. His residence in the Cumberland Valley for a dozen of
years after the war, during which his duties as a "circuit-rider"
led him gradually over all the roads traversed by the two armies explains
the remarkable topographical clearness and the pictorial reality of
his narrative. In reading it we become aware that we are receiving knowledge
obtained as nearly as possible at first hand - we are reading the narrative
of a man who has studied every foot of the battlefield and who knows
the whole region with the knowledge of familiarity. "Many circumstance,"
he writes, "tended to reproduce the shifting scenes and manœvers
of the campaign and battle before my imagination, and to inscribe them
in my soul." Imaginative maturing of the subject in the author's
mind, familiarity with the scene, a constant desire to know the minute
details of the truth for one's own satisfaction, these are influences
tending to produce a book of unique interest.
Of course the author has drawn freely upon available written sources
of information, but his book is far from being in the nature of a compilation.
He has made a true nexus of his facts, and his carefully-thought-out
opinions as well as his fresh assembling of material give his narrative
historic value. With the enthusiasm of the historian who lives in the
events which he describes, Mr. Young has gathered up and sifted traditions,
anecdotes, every sort of fact that would add to the human interest of
his book. He has sketched the career and character of every person of
importance who took part in the engagement of either side. With an extraordinary
approximation to completeness, he has determined the personnel of both
the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. He has shirked
no side of his subject. The causes that led to the battle, the motives
and plans of the commanders, the pivotal issues which the engagement
decided, all are discussed with thoroughness and insight. In the narrative
of the battle itself he succeeds remarkably in making a difficult matter
plain, without sacrifice of essential detail, and in bringing past events
vividly before the mind. Comprehensiveness, clearness, human interest,
and the indefinable power which is the reflex of the author's own personality
and point of view - these are qualities that make The Battle of Gettysburg
not only a valuable source of information, but a book to be read for
its own sake.
"The Battle of Gettysburg,"
Overland Monthly & Out West Magazine 62 (1913): 206-207.
"The Battle of Gettysburg," by Jesse Bowman
It is appropriate that the labor of years, which Jesse Bowman Young
has spent in collecting and analyzing material for his comprehensive
narrative, "The Battle of Gettysburg," should be crowned by
the publication of the book, almost upon the anniversary of the battle,
and at a time when the attention of the whole country is turned toward
the former battle-field. But the book is far from being of the sort
which bases its chief claim to interest upon timeliness. As a fresh
survey of the campaign and battle, including every fact of importance,
written with the vividness of reminiscence, and characterized by a clearness
and definiteness that result from the author's long familiarity with
the region in which the battle was fought, "The Battle of Gettysburg"
has a permanent and distinctive value. Mr. Young was an officer in the
battle, and his duties as assistant provost marshal assigned to the
headquarters of Brigadier-General Andrew Humphreys, gave him unusual
opportunities for observation both on the march and in the thick of
the fight. For a dozen years after the war he resided in the Cumberland
Valley, and in Adams County, of which Gettysburg is the countyseat -
for three years of this time in Gettysburg itself. "During these
years," he writes, "the different landscapes, along with the
incidents and movements of the campaign, wove themselves into panoramic
visions in my brain so vividly that they have become an indelible part
of my experience." As a "circuit rider" he journeyed
over all the roads traversed by the two armies, and while living in
Gettysburg he came to know every foot of the great battlefield and the
location of every organization which took part in the engagement. Few
men, we imagine, have ever attained such a clearly pictured and thoroughly
inter-related conception of any great battle. The author has supplemented
his personal knowledge by wide reading and close study of military problems
involved. In addition, the book contains many personal sketches and
a special feature is its compact array of the record of all West Point
graduates who served in the campaign battle on either side. The student
of history, the student of warfare, the veteran of the war, will find
"The Battle of Gettysburg" of peculiar interest from his own
point of view. To the general reader it presents a wonderful picture
of two great armies in action.
Published by Harper & Brothers, Union Square, New York.
Nation 97 (1913): 171.
Of the numerous books about Gettysburg which the recent
anniversary of the battle has called out, Jesse Bowman Young's "Battle
of Gettysburg" (Harpers) is, for the lay reader, the most readable
and generally satisfactory. The author, himself a Union officer, knows
the ground intimately; he has read and weighed the voluminous literature
of the campaign, including a number of works published within a few
months; and he writes clearly and interestingly. His judgments of men
and movements are on the whole, such as have come to be accepted by
more critical authorities; while on controverted points he fortifies
his own conclusions by an adequate presentation of the evidence. Extended
appendices give the rosters of the two armies, together with the record
of the two armies, together with the record of West Point graduates
who served on the two sides. The illustrations reproduce a number of