Author Jerry Desmond will give a talk at the Camden Public Library about his new book, “Turning the Tide at Gettysburg: How Maine Saved the Union,” on August 23 at 2:00 pm. The book is due out in September of 2014, published by Down East Press, a division of Rowman and Littlefield. Mr. Desmond is a native of Maine (born in Island Falls) and holds a master’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from the University of Maine. He taught American history at Maine public high schools for 12 years.
Migrating South in 1991, Mr. Desmond worked as the Resident Manager of the Ramsey House in Knoxville and served as curator and director of the Chattanooga History Museum before signing on as a Senior Associate with LaPaglia and Associates, a museum consulting firm in Tennessee. He has been involved in the start-up and organization of nearly 20 museums in the southeast. He helped plan and design the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, serving as the team leader of curators who identified over 3,000 Civil War artifacts. He is currently the executive director of the Birmingham History Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
Having visited the Gettysburg battle site over 100 times in the past 20 years, Mr. Desmond began to notice that at many crucial points of time and location on the battlefield, men from Maine were there to stem the Confederate tide. Once asked why the Confederate Army lost the battle at Gettysburg, General George E. Pickett replied, “I think the Yankees had something to do with it.” “He might have said those men from Maine had something to do with it,” adds Desmond. “The argument can be made that the eventual outcome at Gettysburg was in doubt had the regiments from Maine, in all numbering some 4,000 volunteers, not performed heroically in the line of battle. They stood firm at Gettysburg and helped save the Union.” Through maps and photographs, Desmond details, location by location around the battlefield, the heroic actions of the volunteer regiments from Maine.