The Confederate Alamo is the first book-length study ever written about the chaotic and bloody Battle of Fort Gregg. By April 2, 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant’s men had tightened their noose around the vital town of Petersburg, Virginia. Trapped on three sides with a river at their back, the soldiers from General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had never faced such dire circumstances.
To give Lee time to craft an escape, a small motley group of threadbare Southerners made a suicidal last stand at a place called Fort Gregg. Famous Civil War historian Douglas Southall Freeman described this fight as “one of the most dramatic incidents of an overwhelming day.” The venerable Union commander, Major General John Gibbon, observed, “[t]he struggle was one of the most desperate ever witnessed.”
At 1 p.m. on this day, the hearts pounded in the chests of thousands of Union soldiers in Gibbon’s 24th Corps. These courageous men fixed bayonets and charged across 800 yards of open ground into withering small arms and artillery fire. A handful of Confederates rammed cartridges into their guns and fired over Fort Gregg’s muddy parapets at this tidal wave of fresh Federal troops. Short on ammunition and men but not on bravery, these Southerners wondered if their last stand would make a difference.
Discover why many of the veterans who fought at this place considered it the nastiest fight of their war experience. Most of these men could not shake the gruesome memories of this day, yet when they passed on, this battle faded with them.
On these pages, award-winning historian John Fox resurrects these forgotten stories of heroism and valor. He uses numerous unpublished letters and diaries to take the reader from the Union battle lines all the way into Fort Gregg’s smoking cauldron of hell. Fourteen Federal soldiers would later receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their valor during this hand to hand melee, yet the few bloody Confederate survivors would receive an ignominious end to their war.
This richly detailed account is filled with maps, photos and new perspectives on the strategic effect this little known battle really had on the war in Virginia. The Battle of Fort Gregg and the bravery of the Americans who fought there are now stirringly depicted for future generations to study and to admire.
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