Dave Buckhout .
In 1993, I embarked on my first solo Civil War battlefield tour. It would set the template for many more to come: following the movement of troops and flow of the battle in synch with not only the relative times-of-day, but touring on the actual anniversary days. For this particular tour, I also began the practice of deep research beforehand, arriving to the field armed with binders-full of chronologies, timelines and maps. Together, this preparatory work has often equated to a proto-narrative in its own right: stacks of pages arranged for easy reference while “in the field.” Several of these research-portfolios have been shaped up and along with my own observations eventually found their way into The Almanack over the years: Chattanooga, Fredericksburg, Atlanta. But my documentary tour of Gettysburg—July 1-3, 1993—was the very first. It was also the only one never edited, finished and published. To coincide with the 150th commemoration of The Battle of Gettysburg—July 1-3, 2013—it seemed only right to dust off this lengthy piece from the 130th commemoration and post it here.
Originally, this manuscript was meant more for my own use—a way to collect / arrange the mountain of research material that I had plowed through prior to (and after) my trip that year. This is no academic piece, and was never meant to be anything useful as research, aside from my own—hence the complete lack of footnotes and source credits (general bibliography aside). No, this work is simply that of an enthusiast with a love—an unquenchable thirst!—for well-written / well-researched historical narrative. I can say that reading and editing this piece reminded me of the sweeping tragic scope of this most famous battle, of the exhaustive (highly rewarding) effort that went into attempting to follow the entire thing hour-by hour, minute-by-minute—and the thoughtful reflection our Civil War fields can induce. It also reminded me of something much more important: to know our modern-world, you must know the road that led us to this point. This crossroads town in Pennsylvania lies at the very crossroads of where America has come—and gone—since …
As long-form as it gets, we are proud to present “Gettysburg” in three PDF parts.
Publication Date: July 1, 2013