A Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3)

By Bruce Catton

While first released in 1953, Bruce Catton, our superior Civil conflict historian used to be offered either the Pulitzer Prize and the nationwide publication Award for excellence in nonfiction.  This ultimate quantity of The military of the Potomac trilogy relates the ultimate 12 months of the Civil conflict.

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17 subsequent day should do it. lots of the military used to be up, by way of now—all of the II and V Corps, divisions of Smith’s corps and considered one of Wright’s and 3 of Burnside’s—in all, greater than 80,000 battling males. the lads have been very drained, for they'd now not but had an opportunity to get over six weeks’ unbroken struggling with and marching, and either Meade and Hancock famous that assaults now weren't pushed domestic as they was. 18 yet morale was once excessive, for the boys sniffed victory within the air, and as June 17 dawned chance was once vibrant. Beauregard’s trenches have been powerful, however the line used to be asymmetric. It ran south from the Appomattox for 4 miles, or thereabouts, and it had important robust points—the Hare apartment hill, round which Hancock’s males had won a foothold the evening prior to, and an analogous hill a mile or south and a bit east of there, topped by means of the home of a guy named Shand. This latter hill lay in entrance of Burnside, and it appeared most probably that it can be flanked, and Meade thought of challenging joint assault via Hancock and Burnside should knock out either one of those robust issues and holiday the road huge open. Farther south the clients have been even higher. The Confederates months in the past had equipped trenches thoroughly encircling Petersburg, yet they didn't start to have males sufficient to occupy them all. as the complete Yankee military was once massed east of city, Beauregard had massed all of his troops there to fulfill the risk. at the south he used to be broad open. there has been a rustic turnpike that dropped south from Petersburg, bearing the exciting identify of the Jerusalem Plank street, and it and the rustic west of it held no insurgent troops in any respect, aside from a skinny cordon of cavalry pickets. Beauregard used to be painfully acutely aware that he used to be defenseless in that area, and he wrote later that if Meade had positioned lots as one military corps over at the Jerusalem street and instructed it to march due north, “I may were forced to evacuate Petersburg with out a lot resistance. ” 19 the military corps which would have made one of these march used to be effectively available—Warren’s V Corps, which held the intense left of Meade’s line. It used to be the hottest outfit within the military, for it had no longer been occupied with the tough battling at chilly Harbor and had now not, in truth, been seriously engaged considering that Spotsylvania. On June sixteen provide had stressed out Meade to get Warren over to the Jerusalem street as speedy as attainable, and in a normal means this was once purported to be Warren’s target on June 17. yet Warren came upon insurgent skirmishers in his entrance and so they have been busy and appeared to be very daring and cocky, and Warren used to be wary approximately urgent them too hard—and, after all, not anything specifically used to be performed and the empty state west of the Jerusalem Plank highway remained empty all day lengthy. On Warren’s correct there has been tough struggling with. Burnside dutifully moved as much as assault the Shand condo hill, the place his males fought manfully yet with out clever path. there has been a ravine in entrance of the hill, and at the Yankee part the floor was once filled with gullies and patches of thick wooden, which made it demanding to shape and flow a line of conflict.

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