Eric J. Wittenberg and Daniel T. Davis
Savas Beatie, 2016, 142 pgs., $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
Out Flew the Sabres is a new book from the Emerging Civil War Series which handles the Battle of Brandy Station. Without a doubt, one of the most accomplished Civil War Cavalry historians is Eric J. Wittenberg. At the same time, The Emerging Civil War Series is one of the finest collections of historians writing about the Civil War as a whole. When I heard that Wittenberg would be tackling the Battle of Brandy Station along with Daniel Davis as part of this series, I was excited. The series has always been one of the best introductory works on battles and campaigns published and I was thankful to find out that this battle was getting the treatment. While it is covered in many other Civil War works, it is welcome news that this series has a work written about the battle by itself instead of just an attachment to a Gettysburg book.
Eric J. Wittenberg has written many articles and books on the Civil War, mainly the cavalry history of the conflict. Some of his works include, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions, Protecting the Flank, and The Devil’s To Pay. He has also co-authored a few novels, most recently, The Second Battle of Winchester with Scott Mingus Sr. Daniel T. Davis is a historian at the Appomattox Court House National Historic Site and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He is one of the leading authors of The Emerging Civil War Series.
I’ve often considered the Battle of Brandy Station and the previous review of Brandy Station to be the starting point of the Gettysburg Campaign. The theatrics of General J.E.B. Stuart during the reviews of his forces proudly display the downfall of the great commander in the coming months. Just like with many of the other Emerging Civil War books, this one takes the action, and preliminary steps, one at a time in order for ease of understanding. An entire chapter is devoted to the review of the forces while many of the actions during the battle are separated into easy to follow parts. The narrative of this book is excellent as usual when it comes to the research of Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Davis, and the text is aided by a myriad of maps and photographs, many of the pictures taken by the authors. One of the things I did notice about this work compared to other in the series was the limited amount of appendices. There are only three in this work where in other books there can be upwards of six. However, that did not bother me. I found the narratives by Mr. Wittenberg and Davis to be enough coverage of this battle. Overall, this book was highly enjoyable, especially for readers who do not know anything about the Battle of Brandy Station and its importance.
I highly recommend Out Flew the Sabres to anyone interested in the Civil War, mainly those who have an interest in the Gettysburg Campaign. As I stated previously, I consider this to be the starting point of the campaign and to have a piece of this series wholly devoted to the battle was a great addition. The narrative is excellent and once again, the presentation was fabulous. Highly Recommended.