Lee is Trapped and Must be Taken: Eleven Fateful Days after Gettysburg: July 4 to July 14, 1863

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Pub Date:
August 2019
Hardcover, 6 x 9
40 images, 11 maps, 372 pp.
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2019 Hugh G. Earnhart Civil War Scholarship Award - Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table

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Chapter 3: July 6, 1863: The Rebel Army is Vulnerable


About the Book

Countless books have examined the battle of Gettysburg, but the retreat of the armies to the Potomac River and beyond has not been as thoroughly covered. “Lee is Trapped and Must be Taken”: Eleven Fateful Days after Gettysburg: July 4 to July 14, 1863, by Thomas J. Ryan and Richard R. Schaus goes a long way toward rectifying this oversight.

This comprehensive study focuses on the immediate aftermath of the battle and addresses how Maj. Gen. George G. Meade organized and motivated his Army of the Potomac in response to President Abraham Lincoln’s mandate to bring about the “literal or substantial destruction” of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia. As far as the president was concerned, if Meade aggressively pursued and confronted Lee before he could escape across the flooded Potomac River, “the rebellion would be over.”

The long and bloody three-day battle exhausted both armies. Their respective commanders faced difficult tasks, including the rallying of their troops for more marching and fighting. Lee had to keep his army organized and motivated enough to conduct an orderly withdrawal away from the field. Meade faced the same organizational and motivational challenges, while assessing the condition of his victorious but heavily damaged army, to determine if it had sufficient strength to pursue and crush a still-dangerous enemy. Central to the respective commanders’ decisions was the information they received from their intelligence-gathering resources about the movements, intentions, and capability of the enemy. The eleven-day period after Gettysburg was a battle of wits to determine which commander better understood the information he received, and directed the movements of his army accordingly. Prepare for some surprising revelations. Woven into this account is the fate of thousands of Union prisoners who envisioned rescue to avoid incarceration in wretched Confederate prisons, and a characterization of how the Union and Confederate media portrayed the ongoing conflict for consumption on the home front.

The authors utilized a host of primary sources to craft their study, including letters, memoirs, diaries, official reports, newspapers, and telegrams, and have threaded these intelligence gems in an exciting and fast-paced narrative that includes a significant amount of new information. “Lee is Trapped and Must be Taken” is a sequel to Thomas Ryan’s Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign, the recipient of the Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award and Gettysburg Civil War Round Table Distinguished Book Award.

"A scholarly, in-depth study. . . . Expertly researched." - Midwest Book Review
"One of the lingering mysteries not examined [in Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign] was the role intelligence played during the 11 days of opportunity after the battle. Lee is Trapped and Must be Taken fills that gap." - CIA Journal Intelligence in Public Literature
“A remarkable accomplishment of scholarship. Using scores of enlisted men’s letters and reflections, commissioned officers’ reports, newspaper articles, and civilian recollections Ryan and Schaus offer a fast-paced, day-by-day account of the decisions and the happenstances of the Army of Northern Virginia’s flight from Gettysburg as the Army of the Potomac attempted to catch the fast-moving Rebels.” - NYMAS Review, New York Military Affairs Symposium


Thomas J. "Tom" Ryan is a Philadelphian by birth, and earned a B.A. from the University of Maryland and an M.A. from American University. He retired in 1994 after 38 years of analytical, managerial and executive-level work in intelligence-related capacities for the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. His book "Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign: How the Critical Role of Intelligence Impacted the Outcome of Lee’s Invasion of the North, June-July 1863" won the Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award and the Gettysburg Civil War Round Table Distinguished Book Award. He also self-published "Essays on Delaware during the Civil War: A Political, Military and Social Perspective." His latest book, written with co-author Richard R. Schaus, titled "Lee is Trapped, and Must be Taken: Eleven Fateful Days after Gettysburg, July 4-14, 1863" is scheduled for publication by Savas Beatie LLC in May 2019. This writing project won the Edwin C. Bearss Award given annually by the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours which reimburses the awardee with up to $1,000 for scholarly research. He has written more than 100 articles and book reviews on Civil War subjects for newspapers and magazines over the past 21 years. Since 2011, he has been writing a weekly column titled "Civil War Profiles" for the Coastal Point newspaper in Ocean View, DE. He served as president of the Central Delaware Civil War Round Table, and speaks on Civil War topics at libraries, historical societies, and civic organizations. He is a longtime member of the American Battlefield Trust, Gettysburg Foundation, Fort Delaware Society, and the Delaware Historical Society, and lives in Bethany Beach, DE with his wife Felicetta (Fil), who collaborates on these Civil War-related activities. Richard R. Schaus, Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Ret.), served on active duty for more than 30 years in a variety of army and joint military intelligence assignments both at home and abroad. Rick is a lifelong student of the Civil War and American military history in general, and the Gettysburg Campaign in particular.