In the fall of 1864, the Civil War´s outcome rested largely on Abraham Lincoln´s success in the upcoming presidential election. As the contest approached, cautious optimism buoyed the President´s supporters in the wake of Union victories at Atlanta and in the Shenandoah Valley. With all eyes on the upcoming election, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant conducted a series of large-scale military operations outside Richmond and Petersburg, which have, until now, received little attention. In Richmond Must Fall, Hampton Newsome examines these October battles in unprecedented scope and detail. The narrative begins with one of Lee´s last offensive operations of the war at the Darbytown Road on October 7, 1864, and ends with Grant´s major offensive on October 27 to seize the South Side Railroad, the last open rail line into the Confederate stronghold at Petersburg. The October 1864 operations offer important insights into the personalities and command styles of Lee and Grant, including Lee´s penchant for audacity and overwhelming thirst to strike a blow against his opponent even against bitter odds and Grant´s willingness to shoulder heavy responsibility in the face of great risk. The narrative explores the relationships within the high command of both armies, including Grant´s sometimes strained partnership with the cautious George Meade. Drawing on an array of original sources, Newsome focuses on the October battles themselves, examining the plans for the operations, the decisions made by commanders on the battlefield, and the soldiers´ view from the ground. At the same time, he places these military actions in the larger political context of the fall of 1864. With the election looming, neither side could afford a defeat at Richmond or Petersburg. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Claton Butcher. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/008660/bk_acx0_008660_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The Overland Campaign that pitted Robert E. Lee against Ulysses S. Grant is one of the most famous campaigns of the Civil War, and May 1864 witnessed the Civil War’s greatest chess match as Lee skillfully blocked Grant’s attempts to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia only to watch his tenacious opponent keep advancing south toward Richmond. Lee and Grant fought to a standstill in the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and along the North Anna, inflicting about 30,000 casualties on each other’s armies.By the time the two armies reached Cold Harbor near the end of May 1864, Grant incorrectly thought that Lee’s army was on the verge of collapse. Though his frontal assaults had failed spectacularly at places like Vicksburg, Grant believed that Lee’s army was on the ropes and could be knocked out with a strong attack. The problem was that Lee’s men were now masterful at quickly constructing defensive fortifications, including earthworks and trenches that made their positions impregnable. While Civil War generals kept employing Napoleonic tactics, Civil War soldiers were building the types of defensive works that would be the harbinger of World War I’s trench warfare. On June 3, 1864, sensing he could break Lee’s army, Grant ordered a full out assault at dawn in the hopes of catching the rebels before they could fully entrench. Although the story of Union soldiers pinning their names on the back of their uniforms in anticipation of death at Cold Harbor is apocryphal, the frontal assault on June 3 inflicted thousands of Union casualties in about half an hour. In just minutes, 7,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded as 30,000 Confederate soldiers successfully held the line against 50,000 Union troops, losing just 1,500 men in the process. With another 12,000-15,000 casualties suffered at Cold Harbor, Grant had suffered about as many casualties in a month as Lee had in his entire army at the start of the campaign. But even though Cold 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/123651/bk_acx0_123651_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.