On the Fourth of July, 1863, reporting on the aftermath of the Civil War's most crucial battle, the New York Times wrote: "A Vermont brigade held the key position at Gettysburg and did more than any other body of men to gain the triumph which decided the fate of the Union." The citizen soldiers led by General George J. Stannard helped stabilize the line, and then shattered the right flank of Pickett's famous charge just when the battle's outcome hung in the balance.
Over a decade since its original release, Nine Months to Gettysburg is now available in paperback. Coffin draws on scores of soldiers' letters to relate how and why young recruits from isolated hill farms flocked to the Union colors in response to Lincoln's call in 1862. And in the nine months leading up to Gettysburg, they recorded, in extraordinary detail, foraging for food, enduring homesickness, monotony, and often fatal diseases. This book movingly captures their myriad anxieties as they are thrust suddenly into the most important infantry maneuver directed against the Confederate assault.