The battle of Gettysburg was undoubtedly one of the greatest conflicts of modern times, not only from the number of combatants engaged and the desperate nature of the struggle, but because on the now classic heights of Cemetery Ridge, Culp’s Hill, and the Round Tops the future of the American Republic, for weal or for woe, was fought and won on those memorable July days. As decisive in its character and as far-reaching in its results as the battle of Waterloo, it has been the subject of endless controversy and military criticism, and has brought forth a multitude of books, pamphlets, and letters, most of which serve but to bewilder and “darken visibly” the student of history.
Fortunately, amid the din and confusion of bitter polemical warfare there is one historian to whom the general reader can turn with confidence - one who has devoted to this battle years of patient study and untiring research, has critically examined all the documents, reports, and publications to be obtained from reliable sources on either side of the controversy, has thoughtfully sifted the evidence for every statement made, has consulted with the surviving officers of either army, and then, “with malice toward none and charity for all”, and with an impartiality rare even in a foreigner of his exalted position and preeminent ability, has written the history of the greatest battle fought on American soil. The Comte de Paris’ account of the battle of Gettysburg is widely acknowledged to be the fairest and most graphic description of the battle ever written.
To make the work still more complete, an itinerary of the Army of the Potomac and cooperating forces in the Gettysburg campaign, June and July, 1863, has been carefully revised and enlarged from documents in the possession of the War Department. This gives the most complete organization of the Army of the Potomac, and details the name of every general and subordinate commander on the field, with a return showing the casualties by regiment and battery in the Union and Confederate armies, July 1-3, 1863. This adds to this book an official character possessed by none other relating to the battle.