Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3: Gettysburg by an Eyewitness (Vol. 43, pp. 326-335)

On this day in 1863, the pivotal battle of the American Civil War was winding down. Frank Aretas Haskell's "The Battle of Gettysburg" is a perfect example of how history is written by the victors. After all, in 1909, Gettysburg was still in the living memory of the editors of this series, and in the minds of the Yankee elite that ran Harvard, it was a glorious victory.

Haskell's account was written just after the battle as letters to his brother. The horrors of the battle were still fresh and the portrayal of certain of his fellows officers and soldiers in the Union army was unsparing. It is a great primary source for anyone who wants to know more about the bloodiest three days in American history.

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