South Dakota native Chuck Raasch is a Washington correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Prior to that, he was a columnist and national correspondent for Gannett and USA Today. He has had bylines from 49 states and four continents. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University, and was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Chuck lives in Alexandria, Va., and is an avid hiker, gardener, reader and writer. He is the author of “Imperfect Union: A Father’s Search for His Son in the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.” His next book will be fiction and is set in his native South Dakota. His wife, Sandy Johnson, is the CEO of the National Press Foundation and was the first female Washington bureau chief for AP.
Author Website: https://www.stltoday.com/users/profile/chuck%20raasch/
On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, Union artillery lieutenant Bayard Wilkeson fell while bravely spurring his men to action. His father, Sam, a New York Times correspondent, was already on his way to Gettysburg when he learned of his son’s wounding but had to wait until the guns went silent before seeking out his son, who had died at the town’s poorhouse. Sitting next to his dead boy, Sam Wilkeson then wrote one of the greatest battlefield dispatches in American history.
This vivid exploration of one of Gettysburg’s most famous stories--the story of a father and a son, the son’s courage under fire, and the father’s search for his son in the bloody aftermath of battle--reconstructs Bayard Wilkeson’s wounding and death, which have been shrouded in myth and legend, and sheds light on Civil War–era journalism, battlefield medicine, and the “good death.”