Bloody Spring: Forty Days that Sealed the Confederacy's Fate [NOOK Book]

Overview

In the spring of 1864, Robert E. Lee faced a new adversary: Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. Named commander of all Union armies in March, Grant quickly went on the offensive against Lee in Virginia. On May 4, Grant’s army struck hard across the Rapidan River into north-central Virginia, with Lee’s army contesting every mile. They fought for forty days until, finally, the Union army crossed the James River and began the siege of Petersburg....
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Bloody Spring: Forty Days that Sealed the Confederacy's Fate

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Overview

In the spring of 1864, Robert E. Lee faced a new adversary: Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. Named commander of all Union armies in March, Grant quickly went on the offensive against Lee in Virginia. On May 4, Grant’s army struck hard across the Rapidan River into north-central Virginia, with Lee’s army contesting every mile. They fought for forty days until, finally, the Union army crossed the James River and began the siege of Petersburg.

The campaign cost 90,000 men—the largest loss the war had seen. While Grant lost nearly twice as many men as Lee did, he could replace them. Lee could not and would never again mount another major offensive. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox less than a year later was the denouement of the drama begun in those crucial forty days.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Well-researched and argued—a text that Civil War scholars and buffs will consume with glee.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Entertaining and informative.”—Roanoke Times

“In clear, concise, journalistic prose, filled with energetic verbs and colorful adjectives, Wheelan vividly recreates those critical days that permanently turned the tide of the war in the East. [The
author’s] rock-solid research and instructive anecdotes put events and personalities into a context that brings clarity to the bloodiest spring of the war.”—Civil War Roundtable of Washington, DC

Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-08
The author of Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of Philip H. Sheridan (2012) and other works about the Civil War returns with a tactic-by-tactic, blow-by-blow account of the sanguinary actions between the forces of Ulysses Grant and Robert E. Lee near the end of the war.Wheelan begins in March 1864 and ends in mid-June. In between are grim images, insights into the characters of Lee, Grant (24 cigars per day!), Abraham Lincoln and others, as well as some second-guessing and deeply informed reasoning about why the North ultimately prevailed. By 1864, the Union Army was considerably larger and better equipped than the Confederates, as Wheelan continually reminds us. However, Lee—whose abilities the author patently admires—was tactically superior to most of the commanders he faced and had kept victory within the South's reach. But Grant was a different animal. As Wheelan shows us repeatedly, he simply sent waves of soldiers into battle. Although he sustained substantial losses, he also inflicted the same, and the South simply could not win a war of attrition. So the battles at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor—though not really "victories" for the North—were nonetheless successful due to their devastating effects on Confederate troop strength and supplies. Wheelan also provides interesting side stories—e.g., the career of Gen. George Meade, the flamboyant brilliance of George Armstrong Custer and the untimely death of Jeb Stuart. Some of the horrors are hard to read—not just the mere numbers of casualties, but the details about rotting piles and parts of dead human beings. The author also distributes helpful maps throughout, but he does not comment on the justness or causes or necessity of the war.Well-researched and -argued—a text that Civil War scholars and buffs will consume with glee.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306822070
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 238,479
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Joseph Wheelan is the author of several books, including Terrible Swift Sword and Jefferson’s War. Before turning to writing books full time, Wheelan was a reporter and editor for The Associated Press for twenty-four years. He lives in Cary, North Carolina.
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