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Silent Sentinels: A Reference Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg [Hardcover]

George W. Newton

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Book Description

Aug. 15 2005
Artillery played an important and perhaps decisive role at the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. Although many hundreds of books have been published on the battle, few have focused on the artillery. Silent Sentinels fills this flaring gap in the literature.

This well-written and illustrated study was designed for both the casual battlefield visitor and the serious scholar. The former will use Silent Sentinels to tour the battlefield, browse existing guns, ponder the many photographs, and learn more about artillery in general; the latter will find the extensive primary sources, diagrams, appendices of numbers and losses, and informative discussion of organization and tactics an indispensable reference resource.

Silent Sentinels discusses in detail every gun-type used at Gettysburg, the equipment needed to operate the guns, their organization, and the tactics employed by both Union and Confederate artillery men. In addition to a history of the artillery and how it was used, the author includes chapters on the park’s collection of 436 guns, the pieces on display at the field today, how to identify the different types of cannon, and how to identify the date and place of manufacture.

Silent Sentinels concludes with a driving tour of the battlefield, specially designed with the artillery in mind. This lovely historical guide, complete with detailed endnotes and bibliography, will be a welcomed addition to the growing Gettysburg titles

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie (Aug. 15 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932714146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932714142
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 17 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,290,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for Gettysburg enthusiastics Sept. 27 2005
By John Grisham - Published on
Terrific book. Concise, easy to read, yet full of information. Really fills a gap in the previously published information on artillery. Great detail on how a cannon works, what the job of each artillerist is, the monumentation on the battlefield, order of battle, make up of artillery battries, trivia, official reports... just tons of information.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Pleasure April 26 2006
By Colleen Bognet - Published on
I was fortunate to meet the author by accident at Pickett's Charge, Gettysburg, and I purchased my autographed book for emotional reasons. I was glad to have given in to them. The book is a gem on many accounts. For the Civil War enthusiast, who doesn't need the background, the non artillery information is placed in appendices in the back. The artillery information is concisely placed in seven chapters, and it is quite easy and interesting to read. It would make an excellent handbook for any teacher of the Civil War, who would love a hands-on approach to how the battles were fought and won/lost; and of course, a must-read for any Gettysburg enthusiast of whom I am one. An absolute delightful read. Colleen Bognet - Foreign Language Teacher/History Day Advisor - Hazleton Area School District
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Gettysburg/Civil War enthusiasts Jan. 1 2006
By Jerry McGuire - Published on
This book offers the reader a comprehensive look at the artillery used in the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, complete with numerous photos and illustrations, as well as informative diagrams and guides. Every Gettysburg enthusiast (no matter how serious) will find this detailed book to be enlightening and useful as both a recommended read and a reference guide. And not only does it contain a comprehensive detailed look at every type of gun used in the battle, it also provides a driving tour of the battlefield itself.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A historical guide to artillery used in the July 1863 battle of Gettysburg Oct. 12 2005
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Silent Sentinels: A Reference Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg is a historical guide to artillery used in the July 1863 battle of Gettysburg. Though hundreds of books have been published on the battle, only a handful have devoted more than a few paragraphs to the role of the "long arm" artillery. Silent Sentinels opens with an overview of the Gettysburg campaign, then narrows its focus to the role of field artillery, its organization, loading and firing, walks the reader through a tour of Gettysburg National Military Park, and even offers a chapter full of Gettysburg Artillery Trivia. Appendices include a list of artillery battles arranged by state and biographical sketches and official reports about union and confederate officers who served at Gettysburg. Black-and- white diagrams revealing the workings of artillery as well as assorted tables round out this excellent, thoroughly researched and focused reference.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get to know the guns! Nov. 27 2006
By George C. Bradley - Published on
This is a reference work. Its title indicates it is aimed at students of the battle of Gettysburg. If you skip the first twenty-five pages, "an overview of the Gettysburg Campaign," this book is so much more than it is billed.

It is first and foremost a great introduction to the field artillery of the Civil War. It contains an excellent, concise guide to how the big guns were operated and used. You can find everything in that short chapter from the location of the lunette to the invention of the three-inch ordinance rifle.

Next, the author tells how the artillery arm was organized in both the federal armies and the Confederacy. This is not an organization table. Rather he starts with the manpower requirements of an individual battery, then he goes on to the organization of the artillery arms of the Armies of the Potomac and of Northern Virginia. Before giving us a tour of Gettysburg today, the author gives us a lesson on loading and firing these old muzzle loaders, complete with tables showing ranges of fire for the principal types of guns used in July 1863.

Where Mr. Newton does us the greatest favor is in Chapter 6, where he gives an excellent guide for a driving tour of the artillery still on display on the Gettysburg Battlefield. (Many of the guns shipped there were, according to the author, melted down to make many of the bronze equestrian statues visitors have admired for decades). He adds to his narrative numerous useful appendices that detail with which larger units each battery was assigned, which states provided which batteries, and setting out the official reports of the principal artillery commanders involved at the battle. If you don't know how Civil War field artillery worked, and you want to, this would be the first book I would recommend.

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