“Isn’t this glorious” were the words shouted by a Massachusetts soldier just before he was killed by a Confederate bullet. Edwin Root and Jeffrey Stocker researched three Massachusetts volunteer regiments which fought at the Battle of Gettysburg in the now-famous "Pickett's Charge" close to the center of attack near a copse of trees and provide quotes from actual members of those regiments, which helps to make this book a very interesting study of those involved in the battle and its aftermath.
The authors split the book into two parts. The first part is about how the three regiments were formed and includes some of their early engagements before the Battle of Gettysburg, but mostly it covers the Battle of Gettysburg and what happened immediately to the soldiers. The authors use the diaries and other primary sources for the narrative of the three regiments in the battle, as well as pension records and other records from the National Archives and other sources previously unpublished. They also include several maps and original photographs, which add tremendously to the story.
The second part of the book covers what happened to the survivors and the battlefield after the fighting. The Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association was organized to preserve the site and over time acquired the various sections of the battlefield. The regiments on both sides wanted to memorialize their fallen comrades and their heroic deeds by putting up monuments at the places they served or where particular soldiers died. The three Massachusetts regiments had monuments created then placed on the appropriate spots where they served during the battle near the Copse of Trees, dedicated with much fanfare and celebration.
The authors also provide stories of what happened to some of the soldiers based on various records, showing the financial help survivors of the soldiers received from the government. They even provide the notarized letter of one soldier, asking for an increase in his pension, who provides a lengthy recounting of the events of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Edwin R. Root is a retired systems business analyst and a two-time past president of the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc. He also served on the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association and is involved in the Board of Families of Flight 93, Inc. Jeffrey D. Stocker, a practicing attorney in Pennsylvania and a past president of the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc., is the editor of From Huntsville to Appomattox, Robert Cole’s History of the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment (1996).
Root and Stocker provide an extensive bibliography including primary sources, photographs, maps, and Internet sites. Isn’t This Glorious is recommended to Civil War enthusiasts, especially those interested in the Battle of Gettysburg and its various regiments and what happened afterwards. This book is also recommended to academic and public libraries for their Civil War sections.