Witness to Appomattox

Witness to Appomattox

by Richard Wheeler
     
 

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The battle of Appomatox was the last stand of the Confederacy and the scene of its surrender. This account, utilizing eyewitness accounts, starts in early 1865, with the crumbling of Confederate defenses before Richmond and Petersburg. It follows Lee's efforts to retrieve Confederate forces from deteriorating positions and parallel moves by fast-moving Union troops to

Overview

The battle of Appomatox was the last stand of the Confederacy and the scene of its surrender. This account, utilizing eyewitness accounts, starts in early 1865, with the crumbling of Confederate defenses before Richmond and Petersburg. It follows Lee's efforts to retrieve Confederate forces from deteriorating positions and parallel moves by fast-moving Union troops to cut him off.

Finally, WITNESS TO APPOMATTOX focuses on Lee's encirclement, the negotiations between Grant and Lee at Appomattox Court House, and Lee's surrender -- the end of the most agonizing chapter in U.S. history.

"Richard Wheeler brings narrative to life with haunting images of Lincoln walking the streets of Richmond, drawing an admiring crowd of blacks; Confederate and Union troops gathering around the courthouse, the shock of disbelief -- the birth of hope." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As he did so successfully in Witness to Gettysburg (1987), Wheeler links together the words of participants and eyewitnesses in a moving chronological narrative, this time covering the final three months of the Civil War. The accounts of fighting at Five Forks, the breakthrough at Petersburg, the evacuation of Richmond and the final skirmish at Sayler's Creek all point with solemn inexorability to the haunting surrender ceremony at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Wheeler does not confine hismelf to military operations, but provides a rich continuum of anecdotes conveying the growing sense of victory or defeat on the part of soldiers and civilians, along with homely details of daily life as the war winds down: a Confederate officer arguing with a woman who insists that her husband should desert the Stonewall Brigade; General Grant, trying to open negotiations with General Lee while at the same time trying to rid himself of a sick-headache; President Lincoln, walking the streets of the captured Confederate capital, delivers ``a mortal blow to caste,'' by returning the bow of an elderly black man. Illustrations. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In this sequel to his Witness to Gettysburg (1987), Wheeler stiches numerous contemporary accounts into a patchwork quilt of events and emotions on the last days of the Civil War. From the trenches near Petersburg, the ballrooms of Richmond, and the desk of Lincoln, Wheeler shows the tangle of contradictions and confusion that included such scenes as ragged soldiers defending a capital where civilian officials wasted energy in intrigues and dancing, and Lincoln stroking three orphan kittens while visiting the Union army about to smash the Confederacy. Wheeler does not impose his own views enough to give order to the many different voices, relying instead on chronology to carry the narrative, but his slice-of-life approach provides ample material for public and college libraries. -- Randall M. Miller. St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060920685
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/1991
Pages:
262

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