Schultz offers a fictionalized account of a supremely tragic episode that has heretofore been relegated to the status of an obscure footnote in the history of the Civil War. In 1864, as both Union and Confederate troops languish in inhospitable trenches during a seemingly interminable stalemate on the outskirts of Petersburg, Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, a brilliant engineer, proposes an innovative plan to dig a 500-foot tunnel under Cemetery Hill, which would allow the Union to get beyond Confederate defenses. While General Ambrose Burnside seizes the opportunity to bolster his diminishing reputation by enthusiastically supporting this ambitious project, the mission is jeopardized by the negative interference of General George Meade and the indifference of General Ulysses Grant. Though the mining operation is an unprecedented success, a host of factious, incompetent, and cowardly commanders bungle the ensuing battle, needlessly sacrificing an entire division of African American troops. This is an exemplary piece of historical fiction that exposes both the honor and the waste of warfare.