Gettysburg: Three Days that Saved the United States

posted Jun 9, 2013, 9:11 AM by Martin Roy Hill   [ updated Aug 4, 2015, 4:20 PM ]
This July marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle holds special significance in the history of the American Civil War. Not only was it the bloodiest battle of the war, creating some 51,000 casualties over three days of fighting, it was also what historians call the turning point of the war.

The fighting that occurred at Gettysburg on July 1-3, 1863 marks the closest the Confederacy got to ending the war, if not with a rebel victory then with a negotiated peace. Following its defeat at the Pennsylvania crossroads town, followed one day later by the Union victory at Vicksburg, the Confederacy was never able to take the offensive again. The civil war would last nearly two more years, but the die was cast at Gettysburg — the Union would be preserved.

My latest nonfiction writing project was to contribute a piece to I-5 Publishing’s recently released commemorative book, Gettysburg: Three Days that Saved the United States, a pictorial tribute to the soldiers of both sides who fought and died in that battle.

The high-gloss Gettysburg takes the reader through those three terrible days of summer, exploring little known aspects of the fighting. There’s Father Corby, chaplain for the famed Irish Brigade, who stood amid the bullets and shrapnel to perform a general absolution. There’s the story of the unknown soldier found dead, a photograph of his of his children clutched in his hand, and how his identity was finally determined. And then there’s the story of healing 50 years later when veterans of both sides of the battle came together for a reunion.

My own contribution is a piece on how Union and Confederate surgeons treated the terrible wounds created by the new technologies of war.

Gettysburg: Three Days that Saved the United States is available most major retailers and book stores.u.

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