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Gettysburg the Second Day (Civil War America)

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  538 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The second day's fighting at Gettysburg--the assault of the Army of Northern Virginia against the Army of the Potomac on 2 July 1863--was probably the critical engagement of that decisive battle and, therefore, among the most significant actions of the Civil War. Harry Pfanz, a former historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, has written a definitive account of the s ...more
Hardcover, 601 pages
Published December 18th 1987 by University of North Carolina Press
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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
This is a superb tactical analysis of the fighting that occurred late in the day on July 2, 1863, on the federal left and the Confederate right at the Battle of Gettysburg. Pfanz describes this hellish several hours of vicious combat in great detail and down to the regimental and even company level. Most of the fighting is focused on the area of the Federal line held by the Third Army Corps commanded by Major General Daniel Sickles. Sickles had moved his Corps forward off of the stronger Cemeter ...more
Steven Peterson
Sep 26, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want detail on the second day at Gettysburg, this will give it to you! Harry Pfanz provides much information in this volume.

The book itself begins with the invasion of the North by Robert E. Lee. Chapters 2 and 3 report on key aspects of the day one fighting, on July 1st. These three chapters set the stage for the discussion of the battle on day two, July 2nd, 1863. The fourth chapter lays out the Union forces assembling at the battlefield and deploying as they arrived. Then, the events a
Peter F. Warren
Apr 07, 2013 Peter F. Warren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is considered to be one of the best Civil War books written. It is a very detailed book regarding troop movements, identifying locations were battles were fought, and who was involved. It is a book that a Civil War fan myself would enjoy a great deal. It is not a book that I believe the average reader would enjoy as much as I did. Mr. Pfanz's knowledge of both the Civil War, and of the Gettysburg battlefield, is obvious; he is well-versed in both. I enjoyed the book.
Peter Warren, autho
Robin Friedman
Aug 21, 2016 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Second Day At Gettysburg

This book is part of Harry Pfanz's three-volume study of the Battle of Gettysburg, with the other two volumes exploring the first day of the battle and the fighting on the right of the Union line at Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill.

In "Gettysburg: the Second Day" (1987), Dr. Pfanz explores the fighting on the Union left at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. This was the critical, pivotal aspect of the Battle of Gettysburg and probably has more claim to be denominated the "high-
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, gettysburg
Gettysburg, The Second Day[return]Harry W. Pfanz[return][return]The second day of the Battle of Gettysburg was a series of engagements that, while connected, still wound up being more or less separate mini-battles, so that we can talk about the action at Devil s Den, the fight for the Peach Orchard, and so on. Pfanz, in his detailed study of the battle, has written two books; one covering the southern half of that day s battle from the Union center at Cemetery Ridge to the Round Tops and the oth ...more
Too many details? Dunno.. maybe.
Would love if we were getting details not only on troops and places and attacks but also on names generals and stuff.
Maybe along with the locations to give some maps too? Was googling like crazy throughout the whole thing.. and I probably read more pages on articles at wikipedia than from this book.

Fan of the Civil War? Read it. No? Don't.
Aug 21, 2011 Britt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best composed work on the actions at Gettysburg on July 2nd, excluding the actions on Cemetery and Culps Hill. Pfanz's vast data base of a brain on the subject will surely be overwhelming to someone who has just started learning about the battle. But...if you're an experienced Civil War buff and well read, his books on the Gettysburg Campaign are second to no-one. His interpretation of events combined with primary source research creates a fantastic narrative on what may be our nati ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Art rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book. Mr. Pfanz had made the 2d day come alive for me.
I wanted him to do the 3d day and wondered why he hadn't.
Nov 30, 2008 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-favs
An excellent campaign book. One of the best I've read on Gettysburg. I've read it numerous times. His narrative reads like fiction. You can hear the thunder of cannon and smell the smoke! It could be easy to get bogged down with the minutia, but you do not. The second day of the battle was so confusing and momentous; with professional skill the author brings it all into perspective. It takes longer to read the thing than the battle took to fight! You laugh, you cry, you scream, you wonder. This ...more
Joshua Horn
A good, in depth summary of the main attack on the 2nd day of the battle of Gettysburg. Mr. Pfanz has written a separate book on the fighting on Culp's Hill. It is a good book, however its biggest letdown are the maps. It could easily have twice as many maps, and the maps it has are not the best. They switch around directional orientation, the colors of the troops are opposite from normal (gray - Union, black - Confederate), the regiments are only designated by numbers without their states, and ...more
Jul 11, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war
This is a highly technical account of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. It is well-written and researched, although difficult to understand at times without detailed battlefield maps at your side. Its audience seems to be primarily military historians; if you are a casual reader or tourist you'll find this a tough read. For a less-technical and more accessible explanation of the battle, I recommend Harry Stackpole's They Met at Gettysburg.
Serjeant Wildgoose
This is an absolutely superb and detailed account of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg.
I read it before going to the battlefield, I read parts of it on the battlefield and I have read it since.
Pfanz is a master of capturing the battle through the eyes of the soldiers who fought there, without ever losing sight of the overall tactical and strategic picture.
Honestly I liked the 1st day book better. Better maps and organization. This one was written first so I'd imagine he learned from the first. Still a thorough rendition of the second day on one end of the battlefield.
Avis Black
Jul 18, 2009 Avis Black rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Harry Pfanz deserves an award of some sort. Although Richard Sommers is the clear possessor of the title of 'Dullest Civil War Writer,' Harry Pfanz is definitely number two on this list.
Mar 09, 2008 Bap rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I am being too harsh but this account is so detailed, pedantic, and slow. Can't recommend it to anyone other than a civil war scholar.
Steve Hawley
Apr 10, 2013 Steve Hawley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The definitive history of the second day at Gettysburg. The very best of micro of the U.S. Civil War micro history trend.
Mar 14, 2012 Marc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my top three Gettysburg books. Beautifully told story of the most important day of the battle.
Bob Young
Sep 21, 2011 Bob Young rated it really liked it
Very detailed and enjoyed it, but more maps would have been a great help...
Timothy York
Great book.—Actually it's my second time reading it.
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Harry W. Pfanz graduated from Ohio State University in 1943, followed by service in the U.S. army in World War II. He then became a historian, first for the Department of the Army then for Gettysburg National Military Park for ten years. He received a doctorate in history from Ohio State University in 1958. He has also served as the Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1974 until his ...more
More about Harry W. Pfanz...

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