The front cover of Without Warning: The Saga of Gettysburg, A Reluctant Union Hero, and the Men He Inspired is based on a painting by Dale Gallon, called Expecting a Battle. Gallon Gallery has given permission for Terry Pierce to use Expecting a Battle as the basis for the novel’s cover. Expecting a Battle was originally commissioned by the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg in 1999.
Expecting a Battle captures activities at Major General Meade’s headquarters, located at the Leister House, Gettysburg, PA, July 2, 1863.
It’s about 4:00 p.m. and Confederate artillery has opened up a blistering barrage against Meade’s left flank, occupied by Major General Daniel Sickles, who is commanding the Union army’s Third Corps. Meade has just learned that Sickles has moved Third Corps forward one half mile in front of his assigned defensive position. Meade is speaking with Major General Winfield Hancock commanding Second Corps, while preparing to ride toward the Peach Orchard to meet with General Sickles.
Expecting a Battle captures the start of one of the most contentious controversies of the Battle of Gettysburg — Sickles’s movement of his Third Corps forward to an indefensible salient without Meade’s approval. What followed was Meade’s greatest test as the Union’s commanding general. Why did Sickles move forward and jeopardize the entire Federal defense? How did Meade prevent the collapse of the Union line? Without Warning transports the reader inside both Sickles and Meade’s minds to answer these questions.
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