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Thomas Ryan

  • Bethany Beach Books 99 Garfield Parkway Bethany Beach, DE, 19930 United States (map)
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Meet Thomas Ryan author of Lee is Trapped and Must be Taken at Bethany Beach Books on Saturday, August 31st at 10am!


Lee is Trapped, and Must Be Taken

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.


About Tom

Thomas J. Ryan is the former president of the Central Delaware Civil War Round Table, and member of the Gettysburg Foundation, American Battlefield Trust, the Fort Delaware Society, and the Delaware Historical Society. In addition to the multiple award-winning “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,” he also published “Essays on Delaware during the Civil War: A Political, Military and Social Perspective.” He has written more than 125 articles and book reviews on Civil War subjects for newspapers and magazines, and authors the weekly “Civil War Profiles” column for the Coastal Point newspaper, Ocean View Delaware. He served 38 years of combined military and civilian service in the United States Army and the U.S. Department of Defense in various intelligence-related capacities. Now happily retired, he and his wife live in Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Earlier Event: August 24
Nadia Hashimi