David L. Shultz
Savas Beatie, 2017, 120 pgs., $13.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
One of the things I love about being a Civil War book reviewer is the new found information on battles which seem to have been covered ten times over. “Double Canister at Ten Yards” may seem like just another Gettysburg book, but here it is handled differently. David L. Shultz has taken the stance of the Union perspective during Pickett’s Charge, but not only that, he details the Federal Artillery instead of just the infantry. This outlook into the artillery has been one of the more fascinating aspects of Gettysburg study I have recently been reading and I was thrilled that a book like this came out.
David L. Shultz has authored many Civil War works including Guide to Pennsylvania Troops at Gettysburg, The Battle Between the Farm Lands: Hancock Saves the Union Center, and he coauthored The Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863 with Scott Mingus Sr. He has received numerous awards for his work including special citations from the House of Representatives and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Meritorious Public Service for Battlefield Preservation. His current project is a full analysis on the artillery at Gettysburg, mainly a tactical study which will be comprehensive.
As I said earlier in this review, Shultz takes a different approach on this subject by giving us an outlook onto the Federal Artillery during Pickett’s Charge. Many works tend to focus on Lee and the decisions he made during this attack, and rarely do we see through the eyes of the artillery men. The book is well crafted by placing certain chapters in charge of sections of the battlefield accompanied by excellent maps and photographs. Most of what I found to be interesting were the parts before the charge began, mainly the actions of the commanders in preparation for the attack past the cannonade. The analysis on General Henry Hunt and his gun line, along with the rest of his artillery officers, shows a great determination to push back the Confederate soldiers. The research placed in this work was excellent by drawing out that which I was not familiar with before. Of course, the climax of the work is when the charge reaches the Federal lines and the perfect organization of the artillery in order to end the infamous charge. While some readers may look at the length of this book and wonder if it is enough information, I can tell you that it is. This book offers everything you will need to know about the Federal Artillery during Pickett’s Charge and I look forward to his comprehensive study he is working on.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Battle of Gettysburg, or a study on artillery as a whole. Shultz handles the material in an incredible fashion with a flowing narrative and massive grasp of knowledge. Mr. Shultz should be praised for the work he has brought forward in this book and I eagerly await the next one he writes.