I’ve been on a couple of tours and sat through a couple of lectures given by William Hewitt, a retired U. S. Army lieutenant colonel with 31 years of experience in intelligence and armor & cavalry, and now a ranger at Gettysburg NMP. I can’t say I’ve always agreed with what he says, but I respect the amount of thought that goes into his interpretations. And it’s pretty obvious that a lot of thought went into The Campaign of Gettysburg: Command Decisions. This is not the kind of book that the typical Gettysburg reader is going to pick up, glance through, and say “I gotta have this one.” It suffers from an affliction similar to that of The Stand of the U. S. Army at Gettysburg. It’s not what the potential buyer expects to see. Flow charts? Graphs? Venn Diagrams? Where’s Chamberlain? Where’s Jenny Wade? Where are the deep-seated political affiliations that supposedly drive every decision of every person involved? Where’s the intrigue? Go elsewhere for that stuff. This book is chock-full of options, experience, assets, planning, decisions, and results. It offers a template for command evaluation. I tried to get Mr. Hewitt to answer a few questions about this very interesting approach, but to no avail – he’s a very busy man. That’s unfortunate, because I think his answers would really help make this very unique study a little more understandable to folks. For whatever my opinion means, this is well worth your time, particularly if you’re a serious student of the battle and military command in general. It’s tough to find but the effort won’t be wasted.
Preview: William Hewitt, “The Campaign of Gettysburg: Command Decisions”3 07 2013