'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg

'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg



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'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg

'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg

John Buford' cavalry brigade was the first significant Union force to be engaged during the battle of Gettysburg, holding up the initial Confederate advance, and after a hard fight winning time for the first Union infantry to arrive and take up the defensive positions that were held during the rest of the battle (although admittedly not the actual positions that Buford was defending).

We start with a brief biography of Buford, a look at his cavalry career, and the units under his command at Gettysburg. We then follow their path to the battlefield, before we reach the heart of the book - four chapters that look at the fighting on 1 July 1863. Buford's men held up the Confederate advance on Gettysburg town, and won time for the Union infantry to arrive, starting with I Corps. Although the Confederates did manage to capture the town late in the day, the Union infantry was able to hold the ridges to the south of the town, where the more famous fighting of 2-3 July took place.

The battle is portrayed from both sides, with plenty of good information on the attacking Confederate units and their experience of the battle, and on the advancing Union infantry, starting with Reynold's I Corps. The excellent text is supported by a large number of useful detailed maps that help illustrate the action.

Away from the main text there is an good examination of the suggestion that some of Buford's men had repeating rifles at Gettysburg, a fairly common claim that is firmly dismissed here.

The result is an excellent account of how one unit fits into the wider battle, supported by good material on their opponents and allies.

Chapters
1 - John Buford and his Troopers
2 - Marching to Pennsylvania
3 - June 30, 1863
4 - The Night Before the Battle: June 30- July 1, 1863
5 - Opening the Ball: Early Morning, July 1, 1863
6 - The Devil's to Pay: Buford Holds On
7 - Gamble Saves the First Corps
8 - Unshaken and Undaunted
9 - The Night of July 1-2, 1863
10 - Devin's Brigade Skirmishes in Pitzer's Woods
11 - Buford Departs the Battlefield
Conclusion: An Assessment of John Buford's Performance in the Battle of Gettysburg

Appendices
A - Order of Battle, Morning, July 1, 1863
B - The Myth of the Spencers
C - What was the Nature of John Buford's Defense at Gettysburg
D - Did James Lane's Confederate Brigade form Infantry Squares in Echelon on the Afternoon of July 1, 1863

A Walking and Driving Tour

Author: Eric J. Wittenberg
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 264
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Year: 2015



"The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour

The Battle of Gettysburg turned the tide of the Civil War. But the outcome of the decisive confrontation between North and South might have been dramatically different if not for the actions of Brig. Gen. John Buford, commander of the Union army’s First Cavalry Division.

An award-winning chronicler of America’s War between the States and author of more than a dozen acclaimed works of historical scholarship, Eric J. Wittenberg now focuses on the iconic commanding officer known to his troops as “Honest John” and “Old Steadfast.” Wittenberg describes in fascinating detail the brilliant maneuvers Buford undertook to keep Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at bay and later rescue what remained of the devastated First and Eleventh Corps.”The Devil’s to Pay” celebrates the stunning military achievements of an unparalleled tactical genius at the onset of the Gettysburg Campaign and paints an unforgettable portrait of a quiet, unassuming cavalryman who recognized a possible disaster in the making and took bold action to avert it.

Based on a wealth of information from primary sources, “The Devil’s to Pay” includes pages of illustrations, maps, and photographs, as well as a walking and driving tour of the battlefield sites where America’s history was made at a staggeringly high cost in blood. A comprehensive tactical study that is both scholarly and eminently accessible, it is an essential addition to the library of any Civil War enthusiast.


AUDIO - "The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour

Although many books on Gettysburg have addressed the role played by Brig. Gen. John Buford and his First Cavalry Division troops, there is not a single book-length study devoted entirely to the critical delaying actions waged by Buford and his dismounted troopers and his horse artillerists on the morning of July 1, 1863. Award-winning Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg rectifies this glaring oversight with &ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour.

This comprehensive tactical study examines the role Buford and his horse soldiers played from June 29 through July 2, 1863, including the important actions that saved the shattered remnants of the First and Eleventh Corps. Wittenberg relies upon scores of rare primary sources, including many that have never before been used, to paint a detailed picture of the critical role the quiet and modest cavalryman known to his men as &ldquoHonest John&rdquo or &ldquoOld Steadfast&rdquo played at Gettysburg.

&ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo also includes a detailed walking and driving tour of pertinent sites, complete with GPS coordinates. Three appendices address the nature of Buford&rsquos defense at Gettysburg, whether his troopers were armed with repeating weapons, and whether a feint by his men late in the day caused the Confederate infantry to form &ldquosquares&rdquo (a Napoleonic defensive tactic). Finally, 17 maps by Gettysburg cartographer Phil Laino, together with more than 80 images, several published for the first time, round out this study. &ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo is a must-have for Gettysburg enthusiasts.


Eric J. Wittenberg

Eric J. Wittenberg is an award-winning historian, blogger, speaker and tour guide. His specialty is Civil War cavalry operations, and much of his work has focused on the Gettysburg Campaign. He is the author of 18 published books on the Civil War and more than three dozen articles that have appeared in various national magazines. He is also deeply involved in battlefield preservation work and often assists the Civil War Trust with its efforts, and is also a member of the Governor of Ohio’s Advisory Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He is a native of southeastern Pennsylvania, and was educated at Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is an attorney in private practice. He and his wife Susan and their three golden retrievers reside in Columbus, Ohio.


"The Devil's to Pay": John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour

Although many books on Gettysburg have addressed the role played by Brig. Gen. John Buford and his First Cavalry Division troops, there is not a single book-length study devoted entirely to the critical delaying actions waged by Buford and his dismounted troopers and his horse artillerists on the morning of July 1, 1863. Award-winning Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg rectifies this glaring oversight with &ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour.

This comprehensive tactical study examines the role Buford and his horse soldiers played from June 29 through July 2, 1863, including the important actions that saved the shattered remnants of the First and Eleventh Corps. Wittenberg relies upon scores of rare primary sources, including many that have never before been used, to paint a detailed picture of the critical role the quiet and modest cavalryman known to his men as &ldquoHonest John&rdquo or &ldquoOld Steadfast&rdquo played at Gettysburg.

&ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo also includes a detailed walking and driving tour of pertinent sites, complete with GPS coordinates. Three appendices address the nature of Buford&rsquos defense at Gettysburg, whether his troopers were armed with repeating weapons, and whether a feint by his men late in the day caused the Confederate infantry to form &ldquosquares&rdquo (a Napoleonic defensive tactic). Finally, 17 maps by Gettysburg cartographer Phil Laino, together with more than 80 images, several published for the first time, round out this study. &ldquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rdquo is a must-have for Gettysburg enthusiasts.

"Most people were introduced to John Buford through Sam Elliott&rsquos riveting portrayal of him in the film Gettysburg. Now, through the talented hand of Eric Wittenberg in his new exemplary book, a new generation of readers will meet the real Buford as history knew him―a brilliant cavalry tactician and inspirational leader whose star reached its zenith at Gettysburg before an untimely illness struck him down just as opportunity for advancement to senior command beckoned. This wonderfully written and deeply researched study stands as a tribute even a gruff Old Army veteran like Buford would have admired.&rdquo" (Scott L. Mingus, Sr., author of Flames Beyond Gettysburg and Confederate General William &ldquoExtra Billy&rdquo Smith)

&ldquoAs the author of 17 previous books on Civil War cavalry operations, Eric Wittenberg&rsquos name is well known to students of the Gettysburg Campaign. In &lsquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rsquo: John Buford at Gettysburg, Wittenberg tackles one of Gettysburg&rsquos most iconic and revered leaders. Wittenberg&rsquos narrative encompasses every aspect of Buford&rsquos Gettysburg performance and readers will leave with a much better appreciation of John Buford and the cavalrymen who served under him.&rdquo (James A. Hessler, author of Sickles at Gettysburg (2009) and co-author of Pickett&rsquos Charge at Gettysburg (2015))

&ldquoFew books on Gettysburg spill much ink on the role played by General John Buford and his troopers during the opening hours of the battle, and even less regarding their participation during the rest of the first day or thereafter. Wittenberg&rsquos new master work details, for the first time, Buford&rsquos crucial roll and how he and his cavalrymen impacted the course of the battle. It is a scholarly, yet eminently readable book that is decades overdue.&rdquo (J. David Petruzzi, author of The Complete Gettysburg Guide)

&ldquoNo figure is more central to the Battle of Gettysburg than Union cavalryman John Buford. More than any other commander&rsquos decision, Buford&rsquos determination to stand and fight on July 1 precipitated all the combat that followed. Award-winning author Eric Wittenberg, noted for his excellent work on cavalry in general and Gettysburg in particular, offers a detailed examination of Buford&rsquos role in clear, well-ordered prose. &lsquoThe Devil&rsquos to Pay&rsquo is another must-have book on any Gettysburg shelf.&rdquo (David A. Powell, author of The Maps of Chickamauga and The Chickamauga Campaign)

Eric J. Wittenberg is an accomplished American Civil War cavalry historian and author. An attorney in Ohio, Wittenberg has authored over 21 books on various Civil War subjects, with particular focus on cavalry operations, as well as three 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, Gettysburg PA, 1998) won the prestigious 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award. The second edition won the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award, for Reprint, 2011. His 2014 book, “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour, was awarded the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable’s 2015 Book Award. Wittenberg is a favored speaker at Civil War Roundtables, and conducts tours of various Civil War battlefields and related sites. He was instrumental in saving important battlefield land at Trevilian Station and Brandy Station, Virginia, and wrote the text for the historical waysides located at Trevilian Station. He lives in Columbus with his wife Susan and their beloved dogs. Visit Eric J. Wittenberg's website: http://www.ericwittenberg.com


Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table

“The Devil’s to Pay” John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour

El Dorado Hills, Savas Beatie, 2014

There were thousands of battles in the Civil War, dozens of them categorized as major by any standard – number of combatants engaged, number of casualties, military or political significance, and so forth. Of these, many consider the Battle of Gettysburg to be the capstone. It certainly is the most studied of Civil War engagements. It pitted against each other the best and the worst of leaders, leadership, tactics, and logistics. At the tactical level, Brigadier General John Buford is emblematic of the best on either side. His performance in command of the United States First Cavalry Division in the campaign leading into, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the battle provides classic examples of leadership, determination, and tactics that are studied by military professionals to this day.

Eric Wittenberg has captured this well. Not only is his book superbly researched, documented, and written, it is a grand book – not in size, at a modest 245 pages, but certainly in subject, scope and sweep. With an engaging style, it is fast-paced, easy to ready and comprehend, and covers not only the operational and tactical levels, but individual officers and soldiers involved – on both sides.

Now, I already knew about Buford and his gaining time to the west and north of Gettysburg as the Army of the Potomac closed in. So, in addition to being a good read, what did I get out of the book? What did I learn?

For one, Buford’s background, family and personal, and a detailed insight into his character. A Kentuckian by birth, he was destined to be a soldier. Coming from a family history of military service stretching back to the Revolution, he naturally vectored in that direction. He developed superior horsemanship skills as a youth, which pushed him towards the cavalry. Graduating from West Point in 1848 (16 th out of a class of 42), he showed strong leadership qualities from the beginning of his career. Eric discusses his various unit assignments from graduation through the beginning of the war. He was in uniform the entire period. Buford’s family split in their loyalties, with an older half-brother taking the Union side, briefly commanding a division under Ulysses S. Grant, and a first cousin that went South commanding a division of cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest. Buford struggled with his loyalty to Kentucky, but despite a personal plea from the South-leaning governor, his loyalty to the US Army and the US government it served won out. He served primarily in staff positions in the first two years of the war, although he commanded a reserve cavalry brigade with distinction in the Second Battle of Bull Run (getting wounded in the process). He got back into field command in February 1863, serving as a cavalry brigade commander under Major General George Stoneman before being selected for command of the First Cavalry Division in May 1863. From there, the war led him to Gettysburg.

I also gained a deeper appreciation for the fighting quality of his division at all levels and, in particular, his brigade commanders. His subordinate commands and commanders at Gettysburg are discussed in detail. Eric makes extensive use of contemporary accounts (newspaper articles, official reports, journals and diaries, and personal letters). He includes period photos and thumbnail bios of every commander of significance on both sides of the battle.

Most of all, I came away with a better understanding of the truly pivotal role Buford and his division played on July 1. The skill and determination displayed not only by Buford but his brigade commanders*, Colonels William Gamble (First Brigade) and Thomas C. Devin (Second Brigade), along with several of the division’s subordinate leaders, such as Lt. John H. Calef, commanding Battery A, 2 nd US Artillery, was exemplary. What Buford and his division accomplished that day was amazing, and Eric captures it in detail from start to finish. (* Colonel Wesley Merritt commanded the Reserve Brigade, which had been assigned to security duties in the army’s rear and was not present on battlefield on July 1.)

The book also includes several helpful appendices. A detailed order of battle of course, plus discussions about the Spencer rifle, and analyses of crucial events on the battlefield. These contribute to the insights Eric brings to the battle.

Oh, and then there is the walking and driving tour guidance. Eric points you towards specific sites associated with Buford and the US First Cavalry Division’s actions. The photos, period and current, particularly those looking west on Chambersburg Pike and Mummasburg Road, will help calibrate one’s view today. The GPS coordinates will be of particular use finding some of the spots. All in all, this is a good, comprehensive guide.

There were several notable episodes of superior leadership and skill on the Gettysburg battlefield over its three days, and Eric has described one of the most important. Buford’s delaying action on Herr Ridge and Seminary Ridge on July 1 enabled the Union Army of the Potomac to secure good defensive ground. Had he and the US First Cavalry Division not performed as they did, the Battle of Gettysburg may well have been a one-day affair, with the decisive battle being fought later at some other locale (the Pipe Creek Line in Maryland, for example), possibly with a different outcome. As it was, he delayed the Army of Northern Virginia and thereby set up what would be one of the decisive battles of the war.

This book is a great read! I recommend it highly. Eric Wittenberg is an accomplished Civil War cavalry historian and author, and I look forward to reading as many of his other books as I can manage.

Your reviewer is Emil L. Posey, the Interim Vice President as well as the Communications Officer for the TVCWRT. His work history spans almost 45 years, of military and civilian service to our country. He retired from NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center on December 27, 2014. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hood College, Frederick, Maryland is a former president of the Huntsville chapter of the National Contract Management Association, and is a life member of the Special Forces Association. He is also a member of Elks Lodge 1648 (Huntsville, AL) and the Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society. He is a dedicated bibliophile, and is a (very) armchair political analyst and military enthusiast.


“The Devil’s to Pay” John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour by Eric J. Wittenberg

Gettysburg – one of the key battles in the Civil War that turned the tide in favor of the Union. It also is an excellent example of the use of cavalry. General Buford expertly led Union cavalry on the first day of the battle. Eric J Wittenberg chronicles the actions of Buford and his men as they delayed Confederate forces in his book “The Devil’s to Pay” John Buford at Gettysburg.

Wittenberg brings his traditional skills of excellent writing and thorough research to this book. I consider the book a “page turner” because Wittenberg’s writing is casual and easy to follow. He sprinkles in plenty of maps to keep the reader apprised of the tactical situation.

As with most descriptions of the Gettysburg Campaign, Wittenberg gives an excellent summary of the Union and Confederate movements prior to the battle. For obvious reasons, he gives particular attention to Buford and his division. Wittenberg also gives good biographies of the main actors in the fighting—giving particular attention to Buford and his brigade commanders Colonels William Gamble and Thomas Devin.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Wittenberg is an expert in Civil War cavalry. He has written many articles and books on cavalry tactics and operations. This knowledge is on full display in the book with his analysis and understanding of Buford’s tactics to delay the Confederate infantry. Wittenberg frequently references Civil War cavalry manuals and how Buford’s actions were textbook. Buford deployed his men with maximum effect.

Not only is the narrative and analysis of Buford’s actions great, Wittenberg’s appendixes are just as strong. He includes appendixes on the myth of the use of Spencer rifles by Buford’s men in the battle the nature of Buford’s defense (defense in depth or covering force). Finally, Wittenberg includes a walking and driving tour of Buford at Gettysburg—something I will definitely take on my next trip to Gettysburg!

The book would be an awesome addition to the library of any Civil War enthusiast.


Review

". an extraordinary and highly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library collections and supplemental studies lists."-- "Midwest Book Review"

"As the author of 17 previous books on Civil War cavalry operations, Eric Wittenberg's name is well known to students of the Gettysburg Campaign. In 'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, Wittenberg tackles one of Gettysburg's most iconic and revered leaders. Wittenberg's narrative encompasses every aspect of Buford's Gettysburg performance and readers will leave with a much better appreciation of John Buford and the cavalrymen who served under him."--James A. Hessler, author of Sickles at Gettysburg (2009) and co-author of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg (2015)

"Few books on Gettysburg spill much ink on the role played by General John Buford and his troopers during the opening hours of the battle, and even less regarding their participation during the rest of the first day or thereafter. Wittenberg's new master work details, for the first time, Buford's crucial roll and how he and his cavalrymen impacted the course of the battle. It is a scholarly, yet eminently readable book that is decades overdue."--J. David Petruzzi, author of The Complete Gettysburg Guide

"Most people were introduced to John Buford through Sam Elliott's riveting portrayal of him in the film Gettysburg. Now, through the talented hand of Eric Wittenberg in his new exemplary book, a new generation of readers will meet the real Buford as history knew him--a brilliant cavalry tactician and inspirational leader whose star reached its zenith at Gettysburg before an untimely illness struck him down just as opportunity for advancement to senior command beckoned. This wonderfully written and deeply researched study stands as a tribute even a gruff Old Army veteran like Buford would have admired.""--Scott L. Mingus, Sr., author of Flames Beyond Gettysburg and Confederate General William "Extra Billy" Smith

"No figure is more central to the Battle of Gettysburg than Union cavalryman John Buford. More than any other commander's decision, Buford's determination to stand and fight on July 1 precipitated all the combat that followed. Award-winning author Eric Wittenberg, noted for his excellent work on cavalry in general and Gettysburg in particular, offers a detailed examination of Buford's role in clear, well-ordered prose. 'The Devil's to Pay' is another must-have book on any Gettysburg shelf."--David A. Powell, author of The Maps of Chickamauga and The Chickamauga Campaign


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Bull Runnings

New from Savas-Beatie is “The Devil’s to Pay” – John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour, by prolific Civil War cavalry author Eric J. Wittenberg. This is the first “book-length study devoted entirely to the critical delaying actions waged by Buford and his dismounted troopers and his horse artillerists on the morning of July 1, 1863.”

Here’s the skinny: with “The Devils to Pay” you get 204 pages of narrative taking the reader along with Buford and his men from Fredericksburg to Pennsylvania (including Brandy Station), covering in detail the actions in the Gettysburg vicinity through their ordered departure on July 2. This narrative includes background and biographical information on Buford and his men, a lengthy conclusion summarizing their performance and use, and an epilogue. In addition, there are four appendices (an order of battle a treatise on “The Myth of the Spencers” an analysis of the nature of Buford’s defense on July 1 and consideration of the question of whether or not Lane’s Confederate infantry brigade formed squares against a perceived cavalry threat on July 1) a 22 page, illustrated walking and driving tour and a bibliography. Sprinkled throughout are more than 80 images and 17 Phil Laino maps.


Watch the video: Recon! The Devils To Pay! The First Day at Gettysburg