For me, writing Out Flew the Sabers with Dan Davis was an interesting experience. I had already published a 63,000-word monograph on the battle, and also wrote a detailed treatment that appeared in my book The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station, 1863. So, the idea of publishing a second monograph on the battle—albeit a much shorter one—proved to be a challenge. I also hadn’t collaborated on Brandy Station with anyone else, so adding Dan to the mix was also going to be a challenge.
From my perspective, writing a narrative that wasn’t just a re-hashing of what I’d done previously became the big challenge. Consequently, it seemed obvious to me that the way to go with this was to have Dan do the principal narrative since he was coming at this project with a fresh eye and a different perspective. Dan ended up writing the primary narrative with detailed input from me, and that accomplished exactly what I hoped it would: we told the story in as thorough of a fashion as we could given the length constraints imposed by the series but which presented a different voice and perspective from my other works.
I’m proud of what we produced. Despite its short length, I think that the book provides a good overview of the largest cavalry ever fought on the North American continent with good, useful maps and a tour guide that allows readers to visit the sites addressed in the book on their own (although a significant portion of the battlefield remains in private hands and cannot be accessed by the public as a result).
I remain grateful to Clark “Bud” Hall, who remains THE authority on anything related to the Civil War in Culpeper County, Virginia. I’ve spent many an hour out on the Brandy Station battlefield with him, and anything that I may know about this important battle can be traced directly to him. Dan and I were fortunate to have been able to draw upon Bud’s expertise in telling this story.
Out Flew the Sabres: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863
by Eric J. Wittenberg and Daniel T. Davis
Savas Beatie, 2016
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