Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg

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9781611210989: Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg

June 1863. The Gettysburg Campaign is in its opening hours. Harness jingles and hoofs pound as Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart leads his three brigades of veteran troopers on a ride that triggers one of the Civil War’s most bitter and enduring controversies. Instead of finding glory and victory—two objectives with which he was intimately familiar—Stuart reaped stinging criticism and substantial blame for one of the Confederacy’s most stunning and unexpected battlefield defeats. Now in paperback, Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg by Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi objectively investigates the role Stuart’s horsemen played in the disastrous campaign. It is the first book ever written on this important and endlessly fascinating subject.

Stuart left Virginia acting on Gen. Robert E. Lee’s discretionary orders to advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he was to screen Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s marching infantry corps and report on enemy activity. The mission jumped off its tracks from virtually the moment it began when one unexpected event after another unfolded across Stuart’s path. For days, neither Lee nor Stuart had any idea where the other was, and the enemy blocked the horseman’s direct route back to the Confederate army, which was advancing nearly blind north into Pennsylvania. By the time Stuart reached Lee on the afternoon of July 2, the armies had unexpectedly collided at Gettysburg, the second day’s fighting was underway, and one of the campaign’s greatest controversies was born.

Did the plumed cavalier disobey Lee’s orders by stripping the army of its “eyes and ears?” Was Stuart to blame for the unexpected combat that broke out at Gettysburg on July 1? Authors Wittenberg and Petruzzi, widely recognized for their study and expertise of Civil War cavalry operations, have drawn upon a massive array of primary sources, many heretofore untapped, to fully explore Stuart’s ride, its consequences, and the intense debate among participants shortly after the battle, early postwar commentators, and modern scholars.

The result is a richly detailed study jammed with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern cavalry, and fresh insights on every horse engagement, large and small, fought during the campaign.

About the Authors: Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg has authored over a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, as well as two dozen articles in popular magazines such as North & South, Blue & Gray, America’s Civil War, and Gettysburg Magazine. His first book, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions (Thomas Publications, 1998) won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.

His most recent books are One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, with co-authors J. David Petruzzi and Michael F. Nugent (Savas Beatie, 2008) and The Battle of Brandy Station (The History Press, 2010).

Wittenberg is a favored speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of cavalry battlefields and related sites. He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located there. He lives in Columbus with his wife Susan and their beloved dogs. Wittenberg is the CEO of Ironclad Publishing Inc. Visit Eric J. Wittenberg’s website: www.ericwittenberg.com.

J. David Petruzzi is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of many articles for a wide variety of historical publications, including Gettysburg Magazine, America’s Civil War, Blue & Gray, and Civil War Times Illustrated. An insurance broker in Pennsylvania, he co-wrote (with Eric Wittenberg) Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg (Savas Beatie, 2006); (with Wittenberg and Michael F. Nugent) One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 (Savas Beatie, 2008); and (with Steven Stanley) The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest (Savas Beatie, 2009), which won the U.S. Army Historical Foundation’s 2009 Distinguished Writing Award, Reference Category. With Stanley, he also produced The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Audio Driving and Walking Tour, Volume One: The Battlefield (Savas Beatie, 2010).

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About the Author:

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg is the author of many articles and the author or co-author of more than a dozen books on Civil War cavalry subjects, including The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign; Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg; and One Continuous Fight: The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Susan.

Review:

“...the best study of what J.E.B. Stuart did during this campaign and his reasons for doing so. Fair and balanced, it is a necessary read...” (Civil War Courier)

“..a well detailed history, that no matter what side one might view the ride, it would be a fair objective account...well-researched book on all points clearly and cleverly argued.” (Midwest Book Review)

"A fast paced, well told yarn... exhaustively researched... the definitive analysis." (Civil War Times Illustrated)

"Plenty of Blame to Go Around is a welcome new account of Stuart’s fateful ride during the 1863 Pennsylvania campaign. The authors have done heroic labor among the wealth of primary sources bearing on Stuart’s activities. Here, then, is Stuart’s ride as the troopers on both sides would recognize it―well researched, vividly written, and shrewdly argued. It is, in short, as good an account of the ride as we are likely to get.” (Mark Grimsley, author of The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865)

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