Publisher description for The road to Appomattox / Robert Hendrickson.


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Counter Early in 1864, after three long years of bloody and horrifying civil war, Ulysses S. Grant took command of all Union forces engaged against the Confederacy. Grim and ruthless in his determination, Grant set out to grind the enemy into submission with superior numbers, equipment, and firepower. Nothing would stop him--not fierce resistance from Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia; not a shocking Union casualty count often three or four times greater than the enemy's; and not Lee's uncanny ability to anticipate and counter Grant's every move. It would take a year for Grant's strategy to succeed--the final and most murderous year of an already savage struggle. In The Road to Appomattox, Robert Hendrickson re-creates that final year with vivid descriptions, intriguing insights, and revealing details. Through the reminiscences of participants, as well as contemporary diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts, Hendrickson brings those bitter days to life with graphic depictions of some of the most desperate actions of the war: an eerie account of the Second Battle of the Wilderness, fought among the skeletal remains of those fallen in the first battle; heart-wrenching descriptions of the slaughter of thousands of Union troops in fruitless human-wave assaults at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor; and the crushing defeat of Lee's bedraggled army in its last desperate attempt to break free of Union pursuit just outside of Appomattox. Hendrickson fashions striking portraits of many important travelers on the road to Appomattox, including the pugnacious little general Phil Sheridan; J. E. B. Stewart, the quintessential Rebel cavalry officer; and the dashing but hapless Ambrose Burnside, whose daring Petersburg mine scheme might have won the war in dramatic fashion but ended in unspeakable disaster. Separating fact from rumor, the author reveals the truth behind Grant's legendary bouts with alcohol and explains how Lee, the consummate Southern gentleman and an opponent of slavery, could fight so fiercely for a cause in which he did not believe. The Road to Appomattox also explores the events of the war's final days, including sobering civilian accounts of the devastation and suffering that followed the fall of Richmond and Sherman's notorious march through Georgia and the Carolinas. Most bittersweet of all is Hendrickson's description of Lee's surrender--the tall, courtly "soul of the Confederacy" sadly yielding to his stocky, mud-spattered adversary; the Southerner dignified in defeat, his counterpart generous in victory. Lavishly supplemented with vintage photographs, drawings, documents, and maps, The Road to Appomattox offers rich and rewarding reading for history lovers, Civil War buffs, and anyone who enjoys a memorable story engagingly told. "A fresh telling of a familiar story . . . Hendrickson has put enough flesh and blood on the bones of the old tale to give it new life and excitement [in] his immensely readable narrative." --Civil War Times Illustrated "Reads like a Shakespearean tragedy . . . a compelling analysis . . . highly readable and entertaining . . . high drama, which makes for a compelling book." --Fredericksburg Freelance Star "Hendrickson writes history with a novelist's flair and a researcher's perseverance . . . absorbing. " --Roanoke Times "Thoroughly enjoyable . . . should appeal not only to Civil War buffs, but to anyone who thrills to an exciting story." --Professor Robert Ernst, former editor, The New York Historical Quarterly "Timely . . . reflects detailed research . . . an excellent book." --St. Joseph News-Press Gazette "Everything you ever wanted in a history." --Kirkus Reviews

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Appomattox Campaign, 1865, United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Campaigns