From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War Day by Day, 1861-1865 by Charles R. Knight

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FromArlingtontoAppomattoxLeeDayByDayKnight2021From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War Day by Day, 1861-1865

by Charles R. Knight

BTC’s Take:

From Charlie Knight and Ted Savas comes this much anticipated day by day look at Robert E. Lee’s Civil War. Savas Beatie owner Ted Savas was the one who pitched this book idea to Charlie, and we should all be glad he did! The format and title might lead a person to think of this as strictly a reference book, but BOY would they be wrong in that assessment.

While I suspect most people are going to head straight to the Gettysburg, Antietam, and Appomattox sections, you know where I went first…1864!  I’ve read through the entire year of 1864, skimming other portions of the book.  Almost every single day of the entire war is covered.  I did not notice ANY missing days in this section of the book.

Each month starts with a summary from author/editor/compiler Charlie Knight, followed by a daily look at what Lee was writing, saying, and doing.  He includes the date, the day, and where Lee was located during this time.  For example, let’s look at a random early day during the Siege of Petersburg:

June 25, Saturday (Violet Bank): Lee congratulates Wade Hampton on his victory over Sheridan and instructs him to come to Petersburg as more cavalry is needed to keep the enemy away from the railroads. He advises Secretary of War Seddon that Rooney [Lee] is in pursuit of the enemy cavalry threatening the R&D [Richmond & Danville] and Southside [railroads], and also sends him a report on the failed attack east of Petersburg yesterday [July 24, 1864 Action at Hare’s Hill]. Lee opines that flags captured in battle are the property of the Confederate government, not any particular officer or state government.

To get this information, Knight scoured a wide variety of sources, though he admits to not tracking down every single source out there like the Lincoln Day-By-Day project. That said, he definitely looked at ALL of the best sources.

As you might suspect, I’ll be referring back to this book quite often here at The Siege of Petersburg Online.  It is a treasure trove of information and will serve as a launching point and bedrock of future Lee research.  No more sifting through multiple book’s to try to get a sense of where Lee was located and what he was thinking about.  Not much is brand new in this book, but the way the information is presented about Lee has never been done before, to all researchers’ enormous benefit. Anyone interested in the Civil War in the Eastern Theater will want to own this book.

 

Book Summary/Review:

BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Notes:

    BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Sources:

      Publisher Info:

      Douglas S. Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning four-volume study on Robert E. Lee remains the most thorough history of the man. After spending so many years with his subject, Freeman claimed he knew where Lee was every day of his life, from West Point until his death. In fact, there are many gaps in Freeman’s Lee, and hundreds of sources have been discovered in the decades since that have changed many of the accepted “facts” about the general. In From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War, Day by Day, 1861-1865 author Charles Knight does for Lee and students of the war what E. B. Long’s Civil War Day by Day did for our ability to understand the conflict as a whole. This is not another Lee biography, but it is every bit as valuable as one, and perhaps more so.

      Lost in all of the military histories of the war, and even in most of the Lee biographies, is what the general was doing when he was out of history’s “public” eye. We know Lee rode out to meet the survivors of Pickett’s Charge and accept blame for the defeat, that he tried to lead the Texas Brigade in a counterattack to save the day at the Wilderness, and took a tearful ride from Wilmer McLean’s house at Appomattox. But what of the other days? Where was Lee and what was he doing when the spotlight of history failed to illuminate him?

      Focusing on where he was, who he was with, and what he was doing day by day offers an entirely different appreciation for Lee. Readers will come away with a fresh sense of his struggles, both personal and professional, and discover many things about Lee for the first time using his own correspondence and papers from his family, his staff, his lieutenants, and the men of his army.

      General Lee intended to write a history of the Army of Northern Virginia but died before he could complete his work. Much of what he would have written is in this study, which is based on hundreds of first-person accounts. From Arlington to Appomattox recreates, as far as such a thing is now possible, a Lee-centric study of what the man experienced on a daily basis.

      It is a tremendous contribution to the literature of the Civil War.

      Reviews

      “Knight’s study will become the standard reference work on Lee’s daily wartime experiences.” — R. E. L. Krick, author of Staff Officers in Gray

      “Charles R. Knight’s From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War Day by Day is a staggering work of scholarship based upon meticulous research. The entries are detailed, illuminating, and well-written. Nuggets of information abound and will please the most avid students of those crucial four years of Lee’s life.” — Jeffry D. Wert, author of A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863

      “I have reviewed this in some detail, and my first impression is that it is brilliant. The level of detail and research is quite impressive, and it shows. The campaigns and battles are presented in enough detail for people to understand, without getting bogged down in the details. The monthly headings also help. I especially like how Knight brings forward the administrative detail. This day-by-day look really gives one a sense of what it took to both lead and run an army in the Civil War. Congratulations, this is just superb.” — Chris Kolakowski, author of The Virginia Campaigns, March-August 1862

      “Charlie Knight’s From Arlington to Appomattox: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War Day by Day is a pleasure to read, and I learned many things from just perusing it. I think the whole project is brilliant. . . . I got lost in all of the minute details (which I love).” — Michael C. Hardy, award-winning author of General Lee’s Immortals: The Battles and Campaigns of the Branch-Lane Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861–1865

      “This is great. The footnotes are very Freeman-esque—packed full of information.” — Robert Orrison, co-author of To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862

      Hardcover Edition

      ISBN: 978-1-61121-502-1

      Publisher: Savas Beatie

      Release Date: June 2021

      Pages: 576, 50 illustrations, 10 maps

      The Siege of Petersburg Online: Beyond the Crater Pages Which Mention This Book:

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