By: Sherry Garland
Illustrated by: Judith Hierstein
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: May 2010
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: May 13, 2010
“Four-score and seven years ago…” began the famous speech given by President Lincoln at the dedication ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Every schoolchild is taught those words, but can they recount the Battle of Gettysburg, the confrontation that brought President Lincoln to Gettysburg on that dreary November day?
Voices of Gettysburg brings the events of the Battle of Gettysburg to life by telling fictional stories of those who were there. Young readers will hear accounts from the Confederate and Union soldiers, as well as various civilians. Each brief tale takes just a page to tell.
The book begins almost a month before the battle, with commentary from General Robert E. Lee. Lee introduces himself and then tells of his high hopes for pushing deep into the North’s territory. Following Lee’s narrative are a couple of soldiers’ comments, as well as a frightened woman telling of a visit by Confederate soldiers on their way to combat.
The three violent days of battle are covered with sensitivity and yet, leaves no doubt that Gettysburg was a horrible, bloody fight.
“Now the second day of battle is over; thousands lie dead.
In the end, nothing was gained nor lost.
Both the Union and the Confederate lines
Remain where they were when the day began.”
The author has skillfully included mention of several battle related techniques that were used during the Civil War, techniques that many young readers will learn about for the first time. A private in the Second Wisconsin describes the ‘observation balloon’ used to count tents and campfires while an artist for Harper’s Weekly describes his job of recording the war through drawings.
Voices of Gettysburg is an excellent resource for those striving to learn about this important battle. At the end of the book is an in-depth two page historical note, making the book a perfect addition to school libraries as well as the homeschooler’s collection.
Quill says: Voices of Gettysburg recounts a pivotal battle in the Civil War that will educate young readers.