The Emerging Civil War Series follows Robert E. Lee’s last road north this spring. The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign resembles our popular tour book No Turning Back: A Guide to the Overland Campaign (Savas Beatie, 2014). Last Road North is an especially great guide for a road trip because it offers four different driving tours.
Historians Rob Orrison and Dan Welch follow in the footsteps of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac as the two foes cat-and-mouse their way northward, ultimately clashing in the costliest battle in North American history.
“The Last Road North book follows the routes of both armies to Gettysburg and the Confederate retreat after the battle,” said Orrison. “The tour route is connected using the popular Civil War Trails network of interpretive signs. Most stops along the four tours have Civil War Trails interpretive markers. That allowed us to add our own text but also give our readers something to see at each stop.”
Along with their text, Welch hopes the book also offers additional context for the campaign. “The Gettysburg Campaign, for me, has always held my attention because of its ‘underdog’ status. The postwar writings of participants, and later, hundreds of academics and enthusiasts alike, have completely isolated the battle from the context of what came before or after,” said Welch. “We really wanted to challenge the historiography of the past 150 years and encourage people to visit these places and restore the history of the Gettysburg Campaign back to the forefront of the Gettysburg story.”
While Confederates would cross the Potomac for several other raids during the last two years of the war, The Last Road North represents the last foray of any Confederate army north of the Mason-Dixon line.
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From the back cover:
“I thought my men were invincible,” admitted Robert E. Lee.
A string of battlefield victories through 1862 had culminated in the spring of 1863 with Lee’s greatest victory yet: the battle of Chancellorsville. Propelled by the momentum of that supreme moment, confident in the abilities of his men, Lee decided to once more take the fight to the Yankees and launched this army on another invasion of the North.
An appointment with destiny awaited in the little Pennsylvania college town of Gettysburg.
Based on the Civil War Trails system, and packed with dozens of lesser-known sites related to the Gettysburg Campaign, The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign offers the ultimate Civil War road trip.
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About the Authors:
Rob Orrison has worked in the history field for more than 20 years. Born and raised in Loudoun County, Virginia, Rob received his B.A. in Historic Preservation at Longwood College (now University) and received his M.A. in Public History from George Mason University. Currently Rob serves as the Historic Site Operations Supervisor for Prince William County. Outside of work, Rob leads tours with Civil War Excursion Tours (which he co-founded) and contributes to the Emerging Civil War blog. He serves as treasurer of the Historic House Museum Consortium of Washington, D.C., and serves on the boards of directors of the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, the Mosby Heritage Area Association, Virginia Civil War Trails, and the Governing Council of the Virginia Association of Museums. In 2015, he co-authored A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign with Bill Backus. He lives in Prince William County with his wife, Jamie, and son, Carter.
Dan Welch received his B.A. in Instrumental Music Education from Youngstown State University and recently finished his M.A. in Military History with a Civil War Era concentration at American Military University. Welch currently serves as a primary and secondary educator with a public school district in northeast Ohio. Previously, Dan was the education programs coordinator for the Gettysburg Foundation, the non-profit partner of Gettysburg National Military Park. Dan continues to serve as a seasonal park ranger at Gettysburg in the park’s interpretation division, where he has worked for seven years. During that time, he has led numerous programs on the campaign and battle for school groups, families, and visitors of all ages. He is also a contributor to the Emerging Civil War blog. He currently resides with his wife, Sarah, in Boardman, Ohio.