Posts Tagged With: Gettysburg Battlefield

Book review: So You Think You Know Gettysburg?

Johnstown, Pennsylvania, authors James and Suzanne Gindlesperger have written what will surely become one of the more popular books for tourists to take home after their visits to the Gettysburg National Military Park. When I am sitting in Gettysburg’s bookshops for my frequent autograph / book signing sessions, I often overhear people discussing which book they should purchase to take home to show their friends and families what they had seen on their battlefield visit, and there have been a few good choices in the past that have been representative.  Now, the Gindlespergers’ colorful new book, So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America’s Most Epic Battles, has been added to the line-up of titles that I will point out to the inquirers.

Filled with visually appealing photographs of the battlefield, monuments, buildings, and town, the book is laid out in a format that facilitates taking it along on battlefield tramping expeditions. Detailed maps (with exact GPS coordinates) show the location where each picture was taken, making the book useful as a driving tour guide. Each photo is accompanied by a brief passage that explains the history of the subject matter. None of these story lines are detailed, nor are they supposed to be, but collectively they give the reader a good overview of the highlights of the Gettysburg experience.

While this book has obvious appeal to the casual Gettysburg visitor, there is some relatively obscure information that will be of interest to more seasoned buffs, such as the brief story of John Congdon of the 10th New York Cavalry, who in December 1861 fell from the roof of a train passing through the area, and thus became the first Civil War soldier killed at Gettysburg.

In a size, format, and price that are appealing, So You Think You Know Gettysburg? is a book that should be a part of your collection if you enjoy touring the Gettysburg National Military Park and the town. While not nearly as detailed or comprehensive as J. David Petruzzi and Steve Stanley’s landmark 2009 book The Complete Gettysburg Guide (which stands alone at the very top of the list of battlefield guidebooks), this new work will find its niche in popularity and appeal.  It’s well worth the money, and is laid out well with some very nice photographs.

* CLICK HERE to read my recent interview with the Gindlespergers!

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger

So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America’s Most Epic Battles

John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem NC, 2010

188 pages, soft bound, illustrated with maps.

ISBN 978-0-89587-374-3

$18.95 list price, discounted on and other on-line retailers

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15mm East Cemetery Hill Johnny Reb 3 game


Here is a scene from one of my Johnny Reb 3 wargames of the Battle of Gettysburg. The photograph shows some of the Union artillery batteries on the crest of Cemetery Hill on July 2, 1863. The actual military action is described in detail in my manuscript on the Louisiana Tigers’ attack on the Union XI Corps line just to the upper left of this vista. The cemetery headstones were carved from balsa wood. The gatehouse model was painted by Doug Kline of Battlefield Terrain Concepts and is typical of his excellent work.

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New Gettysburg Visitors Center – Part 2

The new Gettysburg Museum offered a dazzling array of things to look at, including these overhead photographs of various Civil War battles. I just wish more of the things from the old VC were also included – perhaps in the future…

Background posts: My first visit to the new Visitors Center; Gilder Lehrman Collection

Cleveland-area miniature wargamer Jim Kopchak, the author of the new rules set Civil War Commander, spent much of yesterday with me touring the new Gettysburg Visitors Center, focusing on the Gettysburg Civil War Museum housed there. We spent a couple hours doing a cursory walk-through, although crowds were very heavy and it was tough to spend any appreciable time at any single display case. I took a few shots, although the majority of my photos did not turn out as the camera’s museum setting failed me, and darkness reigned. Flash photography is forbidden in the VC, as I found out during my last visit when I made the acquaintance of a NPS ranger I had not previously met.

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Gettysburg 145th Anniversary Commemoration

A happy, but tired 2-year-old battlefield tramper and his ole’ dice-rollin’ grandfather spend a quiet Sunday exploring the living history encampment at the Gettysburg American Civil War Museum and Gift Center.

I spent several days driving from York to Gettysburg this past week for various events associated with the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. As previously posted, there were some very good battlewalks sponsored by the National Park Service and led by rangers. I particularly liked walks I attended featuring talks by Matt Atkinson, Eric Campbell, and Troy Harman. I did not make it out to the large reenactment (the price tag scared me away this year, despite the expected high attendance of reenactors). I did listen to some of the featured presentations in Gettysburg by authors and musicians, and spent a fair amount of time browsing the book selections in various stores and shops.

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JRGS members visit the Gettysburg Battlewalks 2008

Gettysburg Park Ranger Eric Campbell discusses the July 2 activities and actions of Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the 145th Anniversary battlewalk earlier today. (Click all photos to enlarge them)

JRGS members and veteran wargamers Billy Ray Wagenseller, Curt Daniels, Roxanne Patton, Tom Mingus, and Scott Mingus were among the very large crowd taking in Eric Campbell’s extensive overview of General Hancock’s efforts to hold the left center during Longstreet’s Assault on July 2, 1863, 145 years ago today. (Click to enlarge – Curt is wearing the orange hat at the left center; his wife is to his immediate left; Tom is just in front of Curt wearing the green Mount Vernon Nazarene University shirt and blue parachute pants; Roxanne is to his right with the straw hat and light blue shorts; Billy Ray and Andrea are obscured by the mob.)

The Codori farm on a bright, sunny, beautiful morning in the Gettysburg National Military Park.

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New Gettysburg Visitors Center

Throngs of tourists packed the new Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center on its first Saturday in operation.

I was in Gettysburg yesterday as a guest author to sign books at a couple of places, including the Gettysburg Gift Center / Wax Museum. Afterward, my son Tom and I drove over to the new Visitors Center to check it out. There are three significant parking lots for cars, as well as a separate one for buses and RVs. All are a healthy walk from the VC entrance, but not so far as to be an issue for most individuals.  The building itself is in a style that is reminiscent of the farms of the region, with a gray stone morif for the “farmhouse” section and a red wooden look for the “round barn” section. The architecture works, as does the overall layout of this sprawling facility.

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