— James H. Blankenship Jr. (Historian)
The Petersburg Campaign. Volume 1: The Eastern Front Battles, June - August 1864by Edwin Bearss, Bryce Suderow
The wide-ranging and largely misunderstood series of operations around Petersburg, Virginia, were the longest and most extensive of the entire Civil War. The fighting that began in early June 1864 when advance elements from the Union Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and botched a series of attacks against a thinly defended city would not end for nine long months. This importantmany would say decisivefighting is presented by legendary Civil War author Edwin C. Bearss in The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles, June–August 1864, the first in a ground-breaking two-volume compendium.
Although commonly referred to as the “Siege of Petersburg,” that city (as well as the Confederate capital at Richmond) was never fully isolated and the combat involved much more than static trench warfare. In fact, much of the wide-ranging fighting involved large-scale Union offensives designed to cut important roads and the five rail lines feeding Petersburg and Richmond. This volume of Bearss’ study of these major battles includes:
The Attack on Petersburg (June 9, 1864)
The Second Assault on Petersburg (June 15 - 18, 1864)
The Battle of the Jerusalem Plank Road (June 21 - 24, 1864)
The Crater (July 30, 1864)
The Battle of the Weldon Railroad (August 18 - 21, 1864)
The Second Battle of Ream’s Station (August 25, 1864)
Accompanying these salient chapters are original maps by Civil War cartographer George Skoch, together with photos and illustrations. The result is a richer and deeper understanding of the major military episodes comprising the Petersburg Campaign.
About the Authors: Edwin C. Bearss is a world-renowned military historian, author, and tour guide known for his work on the American Civil War and World War II. Ed, a former WWII Marine wounded in the Pacific Theater, served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and is the author of dozens of books and articles. He discovered and helped raise the Union warship USS Cairo, which is on display at Vicksburg National Military Park.
Bryce A. Suderow is a Civil War writer and researcher living in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. at Knox College and earned a Masters in American History at Sonoma State University. His Masters' Thesis, Thunder in Arcadia Valley, was published in 1985 (Univ. of Missouri). Bryce has also published many articles in a number of Civil War periodicals and is recognized as one of the finest archival researchers working today.
“Ed Bearss’s impeccable research and lucid prose provide a vivid tactical account of the early actions of the Petersburg Campaign. Everyone interested in untangling the complex operations between Lee and Grant in the summer of 1864 will benefit from a careful reading of this excellent collection of essays.” - A. Wilson Greene, author of The Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign
“Reading this book gives the same thrill as taking a tour with the ‘King of Civil War Battlefields.’ The elder statesman’s voice resonates through every page of this detailed study of the climactic campaign in Virginia. Here is pure military history. Here is Ed Bearss at his best.” - James Robertson, author of The Untold Civil War
“As a long time Park Historian (Ret.) at Petersburg National Battlefield, I would constantly refer to the numerous studies now comprising Ed Bearss’ new The Petersburg Campaign. Indeed, these monographs are still being used for battlefield preservation purposes by the park. As the sesquicentennial approaches in 2014-15 for the Petersburg Campaign, these volumes will be a must for anyone who wishes to understand that complex period of the war, which could be more commonly referred to as the ‘wearing down of Lee’s army.’” - Chris Calkins, author of The Appomattox Campaign, March 29-April 9, 1865
“Edwin C. Bearss, former chief historian for the National Park Service and a World War II hero himself, is perhaps the greatest Civil War historian of the modern era. In the mid-1960s working as a research historian, Ed put together a series of Petersburg battle narratives and highly detailed troop movement maps that continue to withstand the test of time for their insightfulness and accuracy.” - James H. Blankenship, Jr., Historian
“Here is good news for students of the Petersburg Campaign. Edwin C. Bearss, former Chief Historian for the National Park Service, is publishing his studies on the Petersburg Campaign in a multivolume effort. Many of us who have written on the campaign have used these studies as starting points. The maps are outstanding and I have had difficulty tearing myself away from riveting accounts of the combat.” - John Horn, author of The Destruction of the Weldon Railroad and The Petersburg Campaign, co-editor of Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and his Fellow Veterans
- Savas Beatie
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
What People are Saying About This
— James H. Blankenship Jr. (Historian)
—Chris Calkins (author of The Appomattox Campaign, March 29-April 9, 1865)
—John Horn (author of The Destruction of the Weldon Railroad and The Petersburg Campaign, co-editor of Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and his Fellow Veterans)
— A. Wilson Greene (author of The Final Battles of the Petersburg Campaign)
—James Robertson (author of The Untold Civil War)
Meet the Author
Edwin C. Bearss is a world-renowned military historian, author, and tour guide known for his work on the American Civil War and World War II. Ed, a former WWII Marine wounded in the Pacific Theater, served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and is the author of dozens of books and articles. He discovered and helped raise the Union warship USS Cairo, which is on display at Vicksburg National Military Park. Bryce A. Suderow is a Civil War writer and researcher living in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. at Knox College and earned a Masters in American History at Sonoma State University. His Masters' Thesis, Thunder in Arcadia Valley, was published in 1985 (Univ. of Missouri). Bryce has also published many articles in a number of Civil War periodicals and is recognized as one of the finest archival researchers working today.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
The nearly 10 month Siege of Petersburg took place after the Overland campaign and eventually lead to surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Army of the Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, the escape of Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Government from Richmond and the end of the American Civil War. Grant lead eight offensive actions against Southern positions during this campaign. Three of the attacks were direct assaults on Rebel works, while five of the maneuvers were attempts to cut the rail lines that provided important supplies to Petersburg and Richmond. Very little scholarship has been published on the entire campaign except for a few books on the Crater and specific battles. One of the reasons for this is due to its length, the fall of Atlanta and the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. The Petersburg Campaign: Volume 1: The Eastern Front Battles, June-August 1864 written by Edwin C. Bearss with the assistance of Bryce A. Suderow is an important first volume of this tome that examines the following important battles: The Attack on Petersburg (June 9, 1864); The Second Assault on Petersburg (June 15-18, 1864); The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road (June 21-24, 1864); The Crater (July 30, 1864); The Battle of the Weldon Railroad ( August 18-21, 1964) and The Second Battle of Ream’s Station ( August 25, 1864). The text was written almost 50 years ago with the approach of the Civil War Centennial. The final reports and maps that included the troop movements were finalized and accepted in 1964. The series of researched essays were ultimately stored in the parks library and made available to interested students and researchers. Suderow edited the original research and provided introductions and conclusions for each chapter. This American icon has indicated that his research was written as an internal document and its purpose concerned the troop movements and fighting of the various battles. It is written based on official records plus regimentals, diaries, etc. that were published before July 1964. Perhaps his efforts have sparked additional interest and further opportunities of study for others. Savas Beatie published this marvelous 456 page title in 2012. Civil War cartographer George Skoch has provided twenty three maps that greatly enrich this study. Included are photographs, illustrations, below page notes, a bibliography and index as well as four helpful tables dealing with Union and Confederate losses and soldiers available for duty. The author has provided a book with a great deal of research and has demonstrated a knowledge that is rarely provided in any publication. An interesting opinion offered by Mr. Bearss is the two crucial turning points of the siege. One is the attack on Petersburg on June 9, 1864, which kicks off this first volume and was commanded by General. Benjamin Butler and two the assault on Petersburg on June 15 and June 18 commanded by General George Meade. Both were lost opportunities for victory, resulting in a great deal of Union casualties. Additional analysis shows how Lee extended the war by conducting a brilliant defensive effort, but once he was immobilized in the trenches he had no hope of victory in this conflict.. This wonderful Civil War historian has provided an important study that has provided scholars and serious students will something to utilize and learn from. Armchair students and battlefield trampers will benefit from reading this readable, balanced, illuminating and important effort. This reviewer highly recommends this volume and suggests that Civil War buffs add this book to their library.