I recently received a copy of Historic Photos of Gettysburg by John S Salmon for review. It is mainly a picture book with some text, and captions of course. I liked it but not being a Gettysburg guy I wasn't sure if a Gettysburg nut would find it as interesting. Are there enough new photos to appeal to a Gettysburg guy? So I let my buddy Ian look through it and he said that there was quite a few new photos. More importantly he thought it was worth the $40 price tag.
In looking through it I only found two mistakes. The first is that the captions on pages 59, 64 and 65 don't quite mesh. The person identified as Captain John Hoff on 59 is not the same person as the person identified as Captain John Hoff on 65. The page 59 Hoff looks like the person on page 64 that is simply identified as an identified clerk of Hoff's.
The second mistake is on page 150 when Salmon says that "It was Howard, having directed much of the Union side of the battle on July 1, who selected the ridge as the Federal fallback position." I would disagree that Howard directed much of the Union side on July 1. I don't believe he ever offered much direction to the 1st Corps and once the troops rallied on Cemetery Hill Hancock was on the scene so Howard only had to direct troops on his half of the line. Second, I don't think Howard selected the ridge as the fallback position. Buford and Reynolds also saw the defensive potential of Cemetery Hill and while Howard was the first to leave troops for its defense I don't think we can say he selected the ridge as the fallback position.
The book is broken into four sections: the battle, dedication and remembrance, the 50th reunion and the 75th reunion. The battle photos are mainly photos that we've seen in Frassanito. I didn't compare the books side by side to see if this book has anything that Frassanito missed but I doubt Frassanito missed much. The rest of the photos are what really sets this book apart and makes it a worthwhile purchase. Two of my favorites are on pages 141 and 155. Both feature an equestrian statue with a metal sign that says to stay off the mound (apparently a huge earth mound had been built before the statue was placed). And in each photo there are veterans milling all around the statue. They probably figured that they fought for that ground and they were not about to let some sign keep them away from what they had bleed for.
On page 196 is a great quote from FDR at the unveiling of the Peace Memorial at the 75th Reunion:
"Men who wore the blue and men who wore the gray are here together, a fragment spared by time. They are brought here by the memories of old divided loyalties, but they meet here in united loyalty to a united cause which the unfolding years have made it easier to see. All of them we honor, not asking under which flag they fought then - thankful that they stand together under one flag now." I wonder how many of the Confederates in the audience bristled at those comments.
Van Pelt House
1 week ago