Cover image for Firestorm at Gettysburg : civilian voices
Firestorm at Gettysburg : civilian voices
Slade, Jim.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Atglen, PA : Schiffer Military/Aviation History, [1998]

Physical Description:
192 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E475.53 .S57 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



In this book, the civilians who lived through the battle of Gettysburg recount this pivotal event in the American Civil War in their own words. The eyewitness accounts, spanning from June 15, 1863, through Lincoln's address in November of that year to the throngs gathered to open the national cemetery on the battlefield, are compelling tales told by those literally trapped inside the lines of the two great, warring armies. Many of the leading characters are women of strong character coping with situations they had never anticipated and could not hope to prepare for. The interactions between the townsfolk and the soldiers are fascinating reading. Over 160 historical photographs and illustrations accompany the text. To the authors' knowledge, never before have some of these photographs been shown or the narratives of the civilians, literally cut off from the outside world by the war, been told so completely and in their own words. The stories are gleened from diaries, letters, newspaper articles, interviews, and books written by the civilians after the fact. No effort has been made to change any of their language for any reason. There was no need. In this book, certain myths are exploded and one of the most monumental moments in American history comes to life before the reader's eyes.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Given the countless books, articles, and even feature films detailing the valor and carnage at the Battle of Gettysburg, it is surprising that little attention has been paid to the civilians who lived in that small hamlet in southern Pennsylvania. Slade and Alexander are both journalists; they have brought together their finely honed skills at exacting the human dimension from epic events to produce a wonderful, original perspective on the battle and its aftermath. They rely on letters, diaries, local newspaper articles, and a wealth of rarely seen photographs. The result is a riveting portrait of people whose "ordinary" lives have been disrupted and forever changed by an unexpected cataclysm. There are fascinating accounts of the battle, the horrors of coping with the dead and wounded, and the reaction as swarms of reporters and bureaucrats engulf the town as it awaits the dedication of the national cemetery. This work is a treasure for Civil War enthusiasts and a vital addition to any library's Civil War collection. --Jay Freeman