Coming Soon from the Emerging Civil War Series: The First Day at Gettysburg

Layout 1It would have been too obvious for the Emerging Civil War Series to start with Gettysburg, but now that we’re rolling along, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for it. So, it’s time to deliver.

But because Gettysburg is the granddaddy of all Civil War battles and battlefields, there’s no way we could do it justice in just one book.

ECW is pleased to announce the first volume in what will be a mini-series of books about the most famous battle of the Civil War: Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg by Chris Mackowski and Daniel T. Davis. The book also features a foreword by noted regimental historian Mark H. Dunkelman.

“What a privilege it has been to work on this project,” says Dan, who first visited Gettysburg at a young age with his family. Annual trips, he says, have continued through the years.

Studying the first day’s fighting gives us an interesting insight into the mindset of Robert E. Lee,” Dan explains. “The overwhelming Confederate success of the first day, combined with past successes, inspires Lee to take the offensive on the second as well as what becomes the final day of the battle.”

The Confederates weren’t the only ones to score a victory on July 1, 1863, Chris adds. “If you think about it, the Lost Cause scored its first major triumph on that day, because ever since, people have mused about the absence of Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg,” he says. “I don’t buy it for a second. Still, the mythology that has sprung up around Day One has been fascinating.”

Chris, too, grew up around the Gettysburg battlefield. “My earliest Civil War memories come from the Day One battlefield,” he says. “What a delight to be able to finally tell the story of that field!”

From the back cover:

Do not bring on a general engagement, Confederate General Robert E. Lee warned his commanders. The Army of Northern Virginia, slicing its way through south-central Pennsylvania, was too spread out, too vulnerable, for a full-scale engagement with its old nemesis, the Army of the Potomac. Too much was riding on this latest Confederate invasion of the North. Too much was at stake.

As Confederate forces groped their way through the mountain passes, a chance encounter with Federal cavalry on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvania crossroads town triggered a series of events that quickly escalated beyond Lee’s—or anyone’s—control. Waves of soldiers materialized on both sides in a constantly shifting jigsaw of combat. “You will have to fight like the devil . . .” one Union cavalryman predicted.

The costliest battle in the history of the North American continent had begun.

July 1, 1863 remains the most overlooked phase of the battle of Gettysburg, yet it set the stage for all the fateful events that followed.

Bringing decades of familiarity to the discussion—Gettysburg is the battlefield both men grew up with—historians Chris Mackowski and Daniel T. Davis, in their always-engaging style, recount the action of that first day of battle and explore the profound implications.

Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., and Daniel T. Davis have worked together at Emerging Civil War since its inception. Chris is a co-founder and editor-in-chief; Dan serves as chief historian. Between them, they have authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War. Chris is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, and historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield. Dan has a degree in public history from Longwood University and has worked as a historian at Appomattox Court House National Historic Site. Both have worked as historians at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Read their work at

2 Responses to Coming Soon from the Emerging Civil War Series: The First Day at Gettysburg

  1. As a long time student of the First Days battle, in particular the horrific fighting in and around the Herbst woodlot, I look forward to reading this new book on the subject.

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