by Edward S. Alexander
SOPO’s Take: The Emerging Civil War Series turns its eyes to the final days of the Siege of Petersburg in Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 2, 1865 by Edward S. Alexander. This introductory volume neatly serves as short primer on the many small but hotly contested actions around the Cockade City in late March and early April 1865, beginning with the well-known Battle of Fort Stedman and ending with the fall of Richmond and Petersburg. The book is accompanied by more than 150 illustrations and 7 maps and is an ideal book for a beginner to get a handle on the tail end of a relatively unknown, though lengthy and bloody, campaign.
Taken as a whole, Edward Alexander’s Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 2, 1865 is a fine addition to the Emerging Civil War Series and to the literature focusing on the Siege of Petersburg. Veteran readers of the Siege of Petersburg will find little new here, but unless you’re familiar with Wil Greene’s Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion or Andy Trudeau’s The Last Citadel, odds are you’ll find out quite a bit by reading this book. In fact, Dawn of Victory is a really nice lead-in to Greene’s more detailed effort on the Ninth Offensive.
SOPO Siege of Petersburg Book Notes:
SOPO Siege of Petersburg Book Sources:
After the unprecedented violence of the 1864 Overland Campaign, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant turned his gaze south of Richmond to Petersburg, where the railroads that supplied the Confederate capital and its defenders found their junction. Nine grueling months of constant maneuver and combat around the “Cockade City” followed. Massive fortifications dominated the landscape, and both armies frequently pushed each other to the brink of disaster.
As March 1865 drew to a close, Grant planned one more charge against Confederate lines. Despite recent successes, many viewed this latest task as an impossibility—and their trepidation had merit. “These lines might well have been looked upon by the enemy as impregnable,” admitted Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, “and nothing but the most resolute bravery could have overcome them.”
Grant ordered the attack for April 2, 1865, setting the stage for a dramatic early morning bayonet charge by his Sixth Corps across half a mile of open ground into the “strongest line of works ever constructed in America.”
Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg by Edward S. Alexander tells the story of the men who fought and died in the decisive battle of the Petersburg Campaign. Readers can follow the footsteps of the resolute Union attackers and stand in the shoes of the obstinate Confederate defenders as their actions decided the fate of the nation.
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Release Date: March 2015
Pages: 168 pages
The Siege of Petersburg Online Pages Which Mention This Book: