Lee’s Lieutenants is problematic as history, but fantastic as, well, I guess literature, especially if you’re a southerner! I mean, sorta like Foote’s writing, Freeman’s is evocative and definitely has a deep connection with the subject matter. Maybe too deep a connection; there’s more than a whiff of both hagiography and a “great man” view of history in Lee’s Lieutenants (something Weigley managed to avoid in his Eisenhower’s Lieutenants, inspired in part by Freeman’s work, at least in concept). I personally find reading Lee’s Lieutenants a great escapist sort of military history, because while it does have a lot of definitely good information, it’s more about capturing personalities in a time and place, a time and place that my rational side realizes is somewhat, ahem, skewed in Freeman’s presentation, but which the romantic side of me sort of engages with. Ditto for Foote; fabulous prose, great evocation, questionable history, for many students of the conflict.
So if you’re going to read Freeman, personally I’d skip the abridged version because for me the whole point is the almost fulsome treatment he gives his subjects.
Battle Cry of Freedom holds up very well, IMO. Catton, while beautifully written, is less timeless in terms of modern historiography, but Catton is sort of like the Yankee version of Foote, and just as readable, particularly his Army of the Potomac stuff. Coddington’s book on Gettysburg, OTOH, as far as I know is still one of the best on the campaign, and I do like it quite a bit.