Historian With Opposing Views on Gettysburg

David H.

Private
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Today I was browsing Gettysburg lectures on YouTube and came across what I thought was a several year old lecture by Gary Gallagher on Gettysburg and then another one by Eric Wittenberg on the first day of the battle. But no - they were excerpts from lectures by these distinguished historians that someone by the name of Joe Ryan used in his own Youtube videos. Mr. Ryan was very critical of Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Gallagher, even laughing at them and their analysis.
Is anyone else aware of this guy. I found it rather offensive that he was so critical of such well-respected historians and he criticized them for his own purpose.

Any thoughts?
 

JerseyBart

Brigadier General
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Jul 19, 2006
Location
New Jersey
I'd like to know who he is as well. I see his videos on youtube but have never watched them. Without stirring a potential powderkeg...anyone have any information on Joey Ryan???
 

ronzzo

Private
Annual Winner
Joined
Mar 7, 2009
Location
Sadsburyville, PA
Today I was browsing Gettysburg lectures on YouTube and came across what I thought was a several year old lecture by Gary Gallagher on Gettysburg and then another one by Eric Wittenberg on the first day of the battle. But no - they were excerpts from lectures by these distinguished historians that someone by the name of Joe Ryan used in his own Youtube videos. Mr. Ryan was very critical of Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Gallagher, even laughing at them and their analysis.
Is anyone else aware of this guy. I found it rather offensive that he was so critical of such well-respected historians and he criticized them for his own purpose.

Any thoughts?
Never heard of him.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Today I was browsing Gettysburg lectures on YouTube and came across what I thought was a several year old lecture by Gary Gallagher on Gettysburg and then another one by Eric Wittenberg on the first day of the battle. But no - they were excerpts from lectures by these distinguished historians that someone by the name of Joe Ryan used in his own Youtube videos. Mr. Ryan was very critical of Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Gallagher, even laughing at them and their analysis.
Is anyone else aware of this guy. I found it rather offensive that he was so critical of such well-respected historians and he criticized them for his own purpose.

Any thoughts?

Never heard of him. That should tell you something.

I have plenty of primary source material to support my conclusions. I stand by them. If this clown thinks I'm wrong, let him prove it with the primary sources. Otherwise, I view him as a wannabe.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
After reading this I looked him up on YouTube . He has about 20 entries on Gettysburg including a 6 minute piece on Buford . This entry is almost entirely clips from Gettysburg the movie with bits of text from Ryan refuting or agreeing with the clip. I only watched his pieces for about 10 or 15 minutes and didn't see anything about Mr. Wittenberg. His "About" section says he is a trial lawyer from L.A. and has "travelled the route of the Army of Northern Virginia from Richmond to Gettysburg many times." Obviously "well qualified."
 

danny

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Hattiesburg
Never heard of him. That should tell you something.

I have plenty of primary source material to support my conclusions. I stand by them. If this clown thinks I'm wrong, let him prove it with the primary sources. Otherwise, I view him as a wannabe.

For what it may be worth here is a link to his dismantling of Lee and the Confederate strategy for the Gettysburg campaign.

joeryancivilwar.com

Doesn't miss a chance to display his vitriol, much like the member here who refers to him as a historical source.
 

Andrew

Corporal
Joined
Aug 5, 2015
Location
Northern Virginia
He has been discussed on this forum before, and has even chimed in on a few discussions. Search for his name and look for threads on Special Order 191 and the Maryland (Antietam) Campaign. He seems to relish being a contrarian. He presents interesting hypotheses but provides little evidence to support them. More rhetorical style than substance, in my opinion.
 

ronzzo

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Joined
Mar 7, 2009
Location
Sadsburyville, PA
For what it may be worth here is a link to his dismantling of Lee and the Confederate strategy for the Gettysburg campaign.

joeryancivilwar.com

Doesn't miss a chance to display his vitriol, much like the member here who refers to him as a historical source.
Listened to the first few minutes and couldn’t take it. I had to shut it off.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
For what it may be worth here is a link to his dismantling of Lee and the Confederate strategy for the Gettysburg campaign.

joeryancivilwar.com

Doesn't miss a chance to display his vitriol, much like the member here who refers to him as a historical source.

Thanks. I'll pass.

Like I do with our good buddy Tucker, I wear criticism from wannabe edited like this guy as a badge of honor.
 
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rupert822

Private
Joined
Apr 7, 2017
Location
Eastern Shore, Maryland
I read an “article” he'd posted on his web page a few years back where he showed a similar level of respect in an attack on Joseph Harsh and Stephen Sears. Obviously he has forgotten more about the Maryland Campaign than those two ever knew. His tone makes it difficult to approach the content of his writing, which I find to be him doing the reader a favor, as approaching the content seems a fool's errand.

In other news I've been watching lots of battlewalks here recently, and guess who shows up on youtube for Bull Run? I watched about 45 seconds and scanned through it. It begins with heavy breathing with him wearing a shirt, and at the end shows him wearing a soaked through tank top. This unintentional display of sweating in the Virginia heat is perhaps his top contribution to the collective understanding of the Civil War experience.
 
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JerseyBart

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Jul 19, 2006
Location
New Jersey
I am trying to get through the Day 1 Gettysburg video. The comments section are "interesting" to say the least.
 

Rhea Cole

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Ryan is an amateur. As such, he often has an out of the box approach. I must say that on his website he does have the text of the documents he is basing his analysis on. His posting about the letters Lee exchanged with Davis & Stuart in the weeks before Gettysburg is interesting. Oh the other hand even though his is not a ranting crank, like a lot of folks who self publish, he is in dire need of an editor who would cut out about 2/3rds of his videos.
Looking into Ryan reminds me of why I almost never watch YouTube videos about the Civil War. As far as I could find, he has no academic record of any kind. Over 20 years as a National Park living history volunteer has put a switch in my brain that turns off when someone like Ryan gets going. Gotta hand it to him, he has put his ideas out there for all to see & comment on. That takes guts.
 
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JerseyBart

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Location
New Jersey
Ryan is an amateur. As such, he often has an out of the box approach. I must say that on his website he does have the text of the documents he is basing his analysis on. His posting about the letters Lee exchanged with Davis & Stuart in the weeks before Gettysburg is interesting. Oh the other hand even though his is not a ranting crank, like a lot of folks who self publish, he is in dire need of an editor who would cut out about 2/3rds of his videos.
Looking into Ryan reminds me of why I almost never watch YouTube videos about the Civil War.
This video could benefit from a lot of things, editing included.
 

Greywolf

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
I believe he was a defense attorney. I've watched some of his videos. Believe he lives in california. His Antietam stuff regarding the lost order is interesting and I know hes posted on here some.
 

major bill

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Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
I never heard of Joe Ryan. Anyone can offer an opinion and that is what Joe Ryan is doing, he is giving his opinion. Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Gallagher have produced books with good references so you can look at their source material. You should fell free to look at Joe Rayan's source material and the source material of Mr. Wittenberg and Mr. Gallagher, and then you can see who you think is correct.
 

JimN

Cadet
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
I watched some of his videos and some of them are very interesting. It’s too bad other historians might get upset about a differing view from their own. Some Civil War facts are incontrovertible but many others can be viewed differently by different people, whether they are academic historians, non-academic or lay people so to speak. What one historian says is true is not always so.

Also, look at some popular Civil War blogs. For example at civilwarbookshelf the author is extremely vitriolic towards James M. McPherson, Stephen Sears and Allan Nevins to name a few. I’m sure those historians do, or would have, considered that amateur historian and blogger to be a jackass. But many others agree with the blog author and his opinion carries a lot of weight. And many people will buy anything that McPherson or Sears puts out, whether good or bad.

I still haven’t watched too much of his videos, this is the first time I’ve heard of him, but what’s wrong with a differing viewpoint?
 
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