"We Were Marched Hither and Thither...": The 123rd New York in the Gettysburg Campaign

SKU: 9781614686231

"We Were Marched Hither and Thither...": The 123rd New York in the Gettysburg Campaign

Michael Russert 

"We Were Marched Hither and Thither" is a fitting title for the 123rd NYS Vols. in the Gettysburg Campaign. The adventures during the month-long trek of the rural farm boys from Washington County, New York is related through their own words. A majority of primary sources and photographic images have not been used previously. On the road to Gettysburg, the provincial farm boys captured descriptive images of the landscape of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Most of these men had never been more than twenty miles from home. 

It is fascinating to read the different viewpoints of the marching citizen soldiers. For example, the accounts of the men of the execution of three deserters are interesting to compare, especially the contrast of the boys in the ranks to their commanding officer's commentary, Colonel Archibald McDougall, a lawyer by trade. The colorful commentary concerning local inhabitants along the line of march tend to be reflective, and amusing. 

The text of this study, in addition to portraying daily soldier life, provides analyses of several controversial events focused on July 1st. First, Slocum's Corps in the Pipe Creek Circular; second, The Howard/Slocum Affair; finally, the presence of Williams's Division on Ewell's flank, which prevented Confederate movement on Culp's Hill.

The majority of this study is an examination of the battle for the lower crest of Culp's Hill. The text is accompanied by ten maps created by Brad Gottfried. The use of the XII Corps by commander of the Army of the Potomac, as a mobile reserve unit that marched hither and thither is an important aspect of the narrative. The detailed account in which the Washington County boys constructed a stockade defensive wall is instructive, as is the skirmishing outside the wall once the lower crest was seized. The author has named this area, where a rare skirmish line monument was located, "The Shelf." The fascinating concluding chapter explores the manner in which the veterans selected their monument, considered one of the most artistic on the battlefield. 

About the author

Michael T. Russert was born and raised in Buffalo, where he was awarded a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from The State University at Buffalo. He received a Masters of Arts, Liberal Studies (MALS) in Nineteenth Century American Studies, from Empire State College. In 1972, Michael and his wife Judy relocated to Cambridge, New York, where they live in a circa 1760 farmhouse. The author taught a combination of over three decades in Buffalo and in rural Hoosick Falls. After his retirement, he was Coordinator, New York Veteran Oral History Program, traveling the Empire State with fellow interviewer, Viet Nam Veteran, Wayne Clarke. The program has accumulated over two thousand interviews that are housed in the New York Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs. Russert served as Chair of The New York State Battle Flag Preservation Program, and has published over two hundred book reviews for several publishers.


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