Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (New Directions in Southern History)

ISBN 13: 9780813136103
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A book that I had wanted to read and finally got around to: Fredericksbug! Thanks for the shout out. This is an excellent series which tells the story of the war through primary source accounts. Next year, I plan to read Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Charleston. McClellan — Thomas J. Next post: Best of Previous post: Thanks National Park Service.

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All rights reserved. Please do not reprint original material from this blog without permission. Published: December 14, 30 comments. This is a big book, but I promise that you will be well rewarded. Stephen J Grilli Dec 14, Reply Link. Kevin Levin Dec 14, Happy reading, Stephen. Lois Leveen Dec 14, Mike Rogers Dec 14, Samnell Torquill Dec 14, Jazzeum Dec 15, Kevin Levin Dec 15, His writing style definitely takes some time getting use to, but the payoff is huge. Garry Adelman Dec 15, You disappoint me Adelman. For three days August 18 —19 and 21 Union forces under General G.

Warren battle with General A.

Hill 's men for its fate. With the Federals victorious at Weldon Railroad, Grant's men move even further south along its length, destroying the line as they go.

South African History 1652 -1902 Culminating in the Anglo Boer War & Battle at Spion Kop

A few days later, at Reams Station five miles below Warrens foothold, Hill's men again pounce upon the Union troops. The Confederates force the Federals from the battlefield, which halts any further destruction of the line for a time. Lee can now bring his supplies from North Carolina only as far as Stony Creek Station 16 miles south of Petersburg where he is forced to unload them onto wagons.

From September 14 to 17 a daring operation takes place behind Union lines that comes to be known as Confederate General Wade Hampton 's Beefsteak Raid. Riding to Coggin's Point where the Federals have a corral containing 3, head of cattle, Hampton's men boldly capture them and ride successfully back into Lee's lines. The beef is a brief respite from the Southerners' inadequate rations. The Union soldiers do not complete either objective, but they do lengthen their lines which means Lee also has to lengthen his lines to guard his critical supply routes.

Usually the arrival of inclement weather will bring a halt to military operations but such is not the case around Petersburg. In the first week of December, Union troops lead a raid upon the Weldon Railroad to destroy portions of it below Stony Creek in the direction of Hicksford [now Emporia].

While snow and sleet hamper this effort, Lee is now further inconvenienced in transporting his supplies from this region. Keeping a constant pressure upon Southern forces, Grant once again orders his troops out of the lines and toward the plank road in February of He reaches Hatcher's Run near Armstrong's Mill on February 5 and the armies battle for three days in winter weather.

Ultimately, the Union line is extended all the way to this watercourse. March begins with Lincoln's second inauguration and the Confederate Army's morale is low. Inadequate supplies, knowledge of family hardship back home, and a horrible foreboding of impending defeat are consuming the Southern soldiers.

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Grant realizes this is an opportunity to position his troops to move in for the final blow. He gathers 50, infantry, cavalry, and artillery and readies them to break away from the siege lines and seize Lee's remaining supply routes west of the city. As Grant prepares, Lee acts. The Confederate general has been plotting to relieve the pressure to the west by waging a surprise attack on the eastern portion of the line at Union Fort Stedman. Before sunrise on March 25 a large contingent of Lee's men begin their assault with a rush toward the Union fort.

Their hopes are ambitious; their chances for success slim. Their sense of duty, however, compels them to make the desperate charge against the odds. A Union counterattack brings an end to Lee's only major offensive of the siege and the Southern general realizes his army has been diminished by 4, men — few of whom he can hope to replace. Grant once again has the initiative.

The South Side Railroad now means everything to Lee's forces. So, of course, this last supply line becomes the Union's main target but there are still obstacles in their way. A surprise afternoon attack on the astonished Confederates, coupled with poor communication among the Southern command at Five Forks allows the Union an easy victory. The Union lines are now only three miles from the South Side Railroad. Grant capitalizes on the weakened Southerners by ordering an all-out assault at various points along the Confederate line for the following morning.

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The scrambling Southerners do everything they can to fight off the Union surge but they are simply overpowered. They have no choice but to escape and even that requires some heroic fighting. In one instance on April 2, the Confederate soldiers manning Fort Gregg manage to hold off 5, Union troops to allow for the westward escape of Southern soldiers inside Petersburg.

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Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (New Directions In Southern History) [Kevin M. Levin] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying. Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder: New Directions in Southern History (Audible Audio Edition): Kevin Levin, Jack de Golia.

Of the troops sacrifice themselves so a greater number can hold on to the delusion that the Confederacy will somehow survive. All supply lines leading into Petersburg are cut and the Confederates begin their retreat across the Appomattox and soon abandon Richmond. Seven days later the fighting in Virginia ends at the sleepy village of Appomattox Court House. Few who live in Petersburg today realize the importance and size of the conflict, which took place in their own back yard. For almost ten months 60, Confederate soldiers and , Union soldiers who, prior to the war, were used to having a roof over their heads, now made their homes in muddy, disease-ridden trenches where they endured extreme conditions.

The presence of almost 15, U. Colored Troops provided a reminder to all as to one of the major reasons why this war was being fought. A high price was paid on both sides as the casualty number for the Southerners was estimated around 28, while the Union lost 42, in casualties. This long, deadly campaign earned the distinction of being known as the "downfall of Lee's army. Join us in the opportunity to create a remarkable legacy to leave for future generations by saving acres at Reams Station, Champion Hill, The Breakthrough and Salem Cemetery.

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Civil War. Petersburg: The Wearing down of Lee's Army.

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People are starting to take notice of Levin. His coverage of a dispute between scholars over their respective books on Mississippi's Jones County during the Civil War got the attention of the New York Times, and Levin's work has since appeared there as well as in publications like The Atlantic. He typically has a few speaking engagements a month, which in recent months have included talks at the OAH and at Yale.

It's a little unclear how, or whether, he's actually making a living from all this, but his editorial work ethic has clearly been paying at least some dividends, figurative or otherwise. Given the contraction in the historical profession, it's hard not to believe what he's doing will become some form of the norm for anyone who wants to make it in this business.

Years from now people will say he showed the way. This context seems worth reviewing as a prelude to discussing Levin's first book, Remembering the Crater, which has just been published as part of the University of Kentucky's "New Directions in Southern History" series. One of the more surprising aspects of this good piece of scholarship is how traditional it is, a brief monograph of the kind you expect from a recent Ph.

The notes section registers the requisite list of visits to archives, the footnotes themselves are rich in primary and secondary sources, and the blurbs come from scholarly heavyweights in Middle Period history like David Blight and Earl Hess. The book effectively ratifies Levin as a switch hitter, a guy who can hold his weight with the old guard even as he pushes out on an electronic frontier.

This is high praise with a few reservations I'll get to shortly.

Levin positions himself squarely in the sub-field of memory, a specialty that emerged about two decades ago, and one in which the Civil War has been a particularly fruitful frame of reference. The point of departure here is Battle of the Crater, which took place on July 30, The engagement, part of a rotating wheel of struggle between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in for control of Richmond, began as an attempt by the part of the Union army to break the impasse by seizing control of Petersburg, the rail lifeline to the capital of the Confederacy.

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Paul's Church remembered the scene: "Five festoons of cedar hung from the five ornaments in the center of the church to the bannisters of the gallery on each side. Petersburg was considered to have the largest number of free blacks of any Southern city at that time. Lyle7 Dec 15, It was an old Forrest tactic: convince the enemy to capitulate by threatening them with slaughter. After Lee stopped Grant's attempt to seize Petersburg on June 15, the battle settled into a stalemate. Civil War buffs should find it to be an especially interesting read - one of the many important new studies that are being published to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the conflict.

When an initial attempt to use stealth failed, Federal engineers developed a plan that involved tunneling under Rebel lines, planting thousands of pounds of explosives, and exploiting the confusion that would follow exploding them by sending an offensive to break Southern defenses.

A key part of the plan involved using specially trained forces of the United States Colored Troops USCT , a fraught tactical decision given the racial dimension of the war and recent atrocities against black soldiers by Confederates at Fort Pillow, Arkansas earlier in Such factors and the racial prejudices against African Americans among Union officers as well as concern they would be cannon fodder led to a change of plan that resulted in the USCT participating in, but not leading, the assault.

It proved to be a debacle -- the last real Confederate victory in the war. Levin rehearses the military background of the battle skillfully. He does a particularly nice job in his attentiveness to the Petersburg landscape, which puts him on the cutting edge of recent Civil War scholarship.