A Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3)
When first published in 1953, Bruce Catton, our foremost Civil War historian was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for excellence in nonfiction. This final volume of The Army of the Potomac trilogy relates the final year of the Civil War.
The Federal soldiers. If they could once reach the crest of that ridge, the war was over, for if they stood there they would be in rear of the entire Confederate line, and they would control Petersburg and everything that was in it, which meant that they could certainly capture Richmond and could probably destroy Lee’s army. The crest was less than half a mile from the Union line, and between the crest and the Army of the Potomac there was nothing in particular except the Confederate trench which.
Getting very grim about it. Much of this conditioning had been gained in states like Tennessee and Missouri, where neighbor was bitter against neighbor and barn burnings and the murderous settlement of old grudges went hand in hand with attempts to discomfit the Yankee invader, and most Federal generals considered guerillas as mere bushwhackers, candidates for the noose or the firing squad. An exception was generally (though by no means always) made in the case of Mosby’s men, who were recognized.
Men build breastworks, and a little later General Griffin came up with the V Corps and threw his men into line of battle beside them, and the rest of the infantry was not far away. Meade himself was coming up, in an ambulance. He had taken ill, from indigestion and general nerve strain, after the fall of Petersburg, but he was coming along with the army regardless.7 So here was the Army of the Potomac getting ready to fight its old antagonist, and for the first time in its history its battle line.
October, for we do not think the annals of civilized warfare furnishes a parallel to these destructive operations … the blackened face of the country from Port Republic to the neighborhood of Fisher’s Hill bore frightful testimony to fire and sword.” (History of the 17th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry, p. 216.) 8. History of the Shenandoah Valley, Vol. II, p. 954. 9. History of the 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery, p. 109; The Story of the First Massachusetts Light Battery, p.
Richmond together, taking the Virginia Central Railroad apart as they came and rejoining the Army of the Potomac somewhere below the James River.22 Meade’s engineers were building an inner line behind the front at Cold Harbor, and the army as a whole was shifting slowly to its left, with Warren’s corps lining up along the Chickahominy. A fleet of transports had come up the Pamunkey to the base at White House, and warships, transports, barges, and a great number of pontoons were being assembled.