The Schroeder Books
Leaves In A Storm: The Sacrifice of
Iversonís Brigade at Gettysburg
by Jason Amico. Published by
SCHROEDER PUBLICATIONS 2010. Hardcover
with dust jacket, 208 pages, index, 75 photos illustrations and maps.
ISBN 1-889246-41-7. Price
A fine work on an important subject yet to be treated thoroughly in book form. Visitors to the Gettysburg battlefield daily ask how to reach Iversonís pits, either for historical reasons or for paranormal ones. Interest in the pits is strong, and the name Iverson resonates with a sense of bitter tragedy. A comprehensive treatment of the brigade, tracing its journey up through the first two years of the war to Gettysburg, has proven allusive thus far. Amicoís book changes that.
The book is well rounded. Whereas some military historians prefer strict analysis to personal accounts, or lean towards biographical material instead of general descriptions, or they stress human interest over concentrated combat action, Amicoís book weighs them together. He does so discreetly by shifting from one emphasis to another towards a complete picture. In his blending of the material, the reader learns how interplay at the regiment and brigade level affected decision-making in circumstances of promotion and combat. At the most basic levels, the author has woven in the private dramas and internal politics of army officer life, so that when Iversonís brigade reaches Gettysburg, there is a clear understanding of where to look for structural and organizational flaws. With Amicoís approach, one is not surprised the brigade behaved the way that it did on July 1.
Yet another strong element is the background information presented for other brigades that participated in the Iverson fight at Gettysburg. There are full biographical descriptions for key members of Colonel Edward OíNealís Alabama brigade are inserted into the storyline. Important players from the two opposing Union brigades, belonging to Brigadier Generals Gabriel Paul and Henry Baxter, are also profiled. Other brigades including Brigadier Generals George Doles, Stephen Ramseur, Junius Daniel, and Lysander Cutler, are analysed. Amico shows the vital advantage that Oak Hill gave Major General Robert Rodesí division in assaulting the Union 1st Corpsí flank and became a key position on first dayís battlefield and Rodesí seizure of the hill a decisive moment.From introduction to conclusion, Amico has rigorously reconstructed a manifold picture of one pivotal afternoon, upon one critical piece of ground, during a fateful three-day battle. In doing so, he has illustrated through one brigade the internal issues facing Civil War soldiers, and explained the circumstances behind a disastrous military outcome that still affects the public consciousness. His attention to detail and quest to tackle the issue of where Iverson went wrong on July 1 has created a solid historical brick for other historians to build around. ~~Troy D. Harman, Author of Leeís Real Plan at Gettysburg
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