It’s no exaggeration to say that Stay and Fight It Out: The Second Day at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863—Culp’s Hill and the North End of the Battlefield is one of the most anticipated releases ever in the Emerging Civil War Series. Of course, that’s because the book is almost seven years “overdue”!
But Kris White and Chris Mackowski have finally managed to get their long-awaited volume across the finish line. It is the fiftieth book in the Emerging Civil War Series and the third in a series of Gettysburg books written by Kris and Chris, and it’s now available from publisher Savas Beatie.
“Life happens,” laughs Chris by way of explanation. “Let’s just say, Kris and I are both relieved to have finally finished this book. I’m confident people will agree that the wait was worth it.”
Most attention at the Civil War battle of Gettysburg focuses on such iconic landscapes like Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and the open fields where Pickett’s Charge took place. Stay and Fight It Out looks at a lesser-known but just as pivotal sector of the battlefield.
“We wrote about those iconic landscapes in the second book in this series, Don’t Give an Inch,” Chris points out. “Our original goal was to do one book per day for the three-day battle, but so much happens on that second day of the battle, we decided to split that action into two books. This new book finally caps off the fighting of July 2.”
The book’s title, Stay and Fight it Out, comes from a statement made by Federal XII Corps commander Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum after the day’s fighting wrapped up. July 2 was one of the bloodiest days of the Civil War, and Union officers met to decide whether to withdraw to a better location or continue the battle where they were. The officers agreed their current position was strong, and Slocum, posted on the north end of the battlefield, said they should “stay and fight it out.”
“The action on the north end of the field gets overlooked by a lot of people—even Civil War buffs—because it’s not as famous. And that’s because the influential Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels focused on the southern end of the battlefield. The movie Gettysburg was based off that book, and Ken Burns’ The Civil War took inspiration from it. No one has created that same kind of pop culture buzz about the action on the north end of the field, even though the fighting there was just as dramatic and just as desperate,” Mackowski explains.
Stay and Fight It Out includes a foreword by David Duncan, president of the American Battlefield Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization. The first land preserved at Gettysburg was on the northern end of the battlefield. An appendix by Wayne Motts, president of the Gettysburg Foundation, outlines some of that preservation, including recent rehabilitation work that has restored part of the battlefield to its wartime appearance. The book also includes an appendix about photography on the battlefield from photo historian Garry Adelman, chief historian of the American Battlefield Trust and vice president of the Center for Civil War Photography. Hal Jespersen provides the maps.
Chris and Kris have collaborated on more than a dozen books and articles together. They’re now at work on the fourth volume to complete their Gettysburg series, We Gained Nothing But Glory: The Third Day at Gettysburg.
We trust it will be out before another seven years elapses. 😉