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St. Bonaventure professor’s new Civil War book focuses on overlooked north battlefield at Gettysburg

Oct 04, 2023

Cover of Stay and Fight It OutMost attention at the Civil War battle of Gettysburg focuses on iconic landscapes like Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and the open fields where Pickett’s Charge took place. 
A new book co-authored by Dr. Chris Mackowski, professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, looks at a lesser-known but just as pivotal sector of the battlefield.
“Stay and Fight It Out: The Second Day at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863 — Culp’s Hill and the North End of the Battlefield” is co-authored by Mackowski’s longtime collaborator Kristopher D. White and published by Savas Beatie, LLC. It is the 50th book in the Emerging Civil War Series and the third in a series of Gettysburg books written by Mackowski and White.
“We wrote about those iconic landscapes in the second book in this series, ‘Don’t Give an Inch,’” Mackowski said. “Our original goal was to do one book per day for the three-day battle, but so much happens on that second day of the battle, we decided to split that action into two books. This new book finally caps off the fighting of July 2.”
The book’s title, “Stay and Fight it Out,” comes from a statement made by a Union general after the day’s fighting wrapped up. It was one of the bloodiest days of the Civil War, and Union officers met to decide whether to withdraw to a better location or continue the battle where they were. The officers agreed their current position was strong, and one of them, Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum of New York, posted on the north end of the battlefield, said they should “stay and fight it out.”
“The action on the north end of the field gets overlooked by a lot of people — even Civil War buffs — because it’s not as famous. And that’s because there was an influential Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, 'The Killer Angels,' written about the southern end of the battlefield. There have been movies inspired by that book. No one has created that same kind of pop culture buzz about the action on the north end of the field, even though the fighting there was just as dramatic and just as desperate,” Mackowski said.
“Stay and Fight It Out” includes a foreword by David Duncan, president of the American Battlefield Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization. The first land preserved at Gettysburg was on the northern end of the battlefield. An appendix by Wayne Motts, president of the Gettysburg Foundation, outlines some of that preservation, including recent rehabilitation work that has restored part of the battlefield to its wartime appearance. The book also includes an appendix about photography on the battlefield from photo historian Garry Adelman of the Center for Civil War Photography.
Mackowski and White have collaborated on more than a dozen books and articles. They’re now at work on the fourth volume to complete their Gettysburg series, “We Gained Nothing But Glory: The Third Day at Gettysburg.” 
Mackowski teaches writing in St. Bonaventure’s Jandoli School of Communication, where he also serves as associate dean for undergraduate programs. He has been at St. Bonaventure since fall of 2000.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).