Book Review: Guide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign

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by Charles R. Jr. Bowery & Ethan S. Rafuse, editors

Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2014. Pp. xxiv, 512. Illus., maps, appends, notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 0700619607

Following the Final Movements of Grant and Lee

In this, the latest volume in the excellent UPK series “U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles,” noted historians Bowery and Rafuse take the reader on a tour of the battlefields in and around Petersburg from mid-June of 1864 through early April of 1865 in the last days of the Confederacy. 

Like all guidebooks, locations are treated in terms of their proximity to each other for touring, rather than chronologically. Nevertheless, while this is not a campaign history, anyone, even the more seasoned Civil War buff or the veteran historian, is likely to be able to learn something new about the months of operations on the Richmond/Petersburg front that culminated almost exactly 150 years ago in the surrender at Appomattox. The text is clear, and the authors take pains to address alternate interpretations. They make frequent use of first hand accents to help provide a “feel” for the events. 

Illustrations are for the most part drawn from contemporary newspapers and sketches, and thus many usefully help give the reader an idea of what the locations looked like at the time the operations were unfolding. The maps, by Steven Stanley, are cleanly done, so that the reader has little difficulty in following the action. The several appendices cover the order-of-battle of the respective armies at various critical junctions in the campaign.

While valuable for anyone interested in visiting the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, this volume will also prove useful for anyone studying the final acts of the war in the east. 

 

Note: Guide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign is also available in hardback, $39.95, ISBN: 978-0-7006-1959-7

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Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


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