A Wisconsin soldier recounts the Battle of Gettysburg for his family.

The Battle of Gettysburg


As aide-de-camp to General John Gibbon, commander of the Iron Brigade, Lt. Frank Haskell of Madison was near the center of the action at Gettysburg. At a crucial moment, "when the contending forces were but 50 or 60 yards apart, believing that an example was necessary, and ready to sacrifice his life, [Haskell] rode between the contending lines with a view of giving encouragement to ours and leading it forward," wrote General Winfield Hancock. Haskell's horse was shot from under him more than once before the Union forces emerged victorious.

A few weeks later the young attorney and officer wrote this 70-page account of the battle. Rejected as too long by his hometown newspaper, it was published after his death in a very limited edition for private circulation. Because of its vivid description and his personal charm, Haskell's essay was reprinted more than 10 times over the next century and it became one of the most widely quoted first-person accounts of Gettysburg. We offer here images of the rare first edition, followed by two manuscript letters on its publication history. A folding map found in some copies of the first edition is missing here.


Related Topics: Wisconsin in the Civil War Era
The Iron Brigade, Old Abe and Military Affairs
Creator: Haskell, Franklin Aretas, 1828-1864.
Pub Data: This first edition was printed by the author's brother for private distribution: "... the pamphlet, which lacked a formal title page, was probably printed in Pennsylvania. The date of 1881 is supplied on the basis of the fact that Harvey Haskell was then distributing complimentary copies." Byrne & Weaver, <i>Haskell of Gettysburg</i> (Madison, 1970): 248.
Citation: Haskell, Franklin Aretas. The Battle of Gettysburg (Pennsylvania?, 1881?). Online facsimile at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1304 Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1304; Visited on: 11/24/2014
Join Now.