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On 4 April 1862, Major General George McClellan marched his 121,500-strong Army of the Potomac from Fort Monroe toward Richmond. Blocking his path were Major General John B. Magruder's Warwick-Yorktown Line fortifications and the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. Despite outnumbering Magruder almost four to one, McClellan was tricked by Magruder's bluff of strength and halted his advance. Yorktown, the scene of Washington's 1781 victory over Cornwallis, was once again besieged. It was the Civil War's first siege and lasted for twenty-nine terrible days. Just as McClellan was ready to bombard Yorktown, the Confederates slipped away because of his delays, McClellan lost the opportunity to quickly capture Richmond and end the war. Historians John V. Quarstein and J. Michael Moore chronicle the Siege of Yorktown and explore its role in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the final battles surrounding Richmond.
The intensity and significance of the Battle of Williamsburg on May 4 and 5, 1862, are often underestimated and misunderstood. Previously understood only as a rear guard action on the way to Richmond and overshadowed by the events of the Seven Days, it was in fact a savage two days' engagement which at its height involved more than 20,000 troops in combat. This is the first full length book to treat the battle in all its strategic importance. The authors draw heavily on original sources to reconstruct the action and to highlight the stories of military and civilian participants in the battle and its aftermath. That original material offers new insights into events associated with the Battle of Williamsburg. An extensive appendix describes the location of the battlefield and includes descriptions of key sites which still exist.
This book presents a firsthand account of the experiences of seventeen-year-old Second Lieutenant Thomas James Howell during Major General George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. Howell’s story offers the reader a unique perspective of a young man coming of age in the Union army during the Civil War.
In the winter of 1861, Union armies had failed to win any significant victories over their Confederate counterparts. The Northern populace, overwhelmed by the bloodshed, questioned whether the costs of the war were too high. President Lincoln despondently wondered if he was going to lose the Union. As a result, tension was incredibly high when Union hero Ambrose Burnside embarked for coastal North Carolina. With the eyes of the nation and world on little Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks, Burnside began his amphibious assault on the beaches and earned a victory that shifted control of Southern waters. Join author and historian Michael Zatarga as he traces the story of the crucial fight on Roanoke Island.
Yorktown's history is often overshadowed by its pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. The site of the British surrender has held several victory commemorations over the past two hundred years. Yorktown also was a thriving colonial port and the site of one of the biggest Union blunders in the Civil War. During Reconstruction, former slaves created a vibrant community called Slabtown on the edge of the hamlet. In the 1930s, the National Park Service began preserving the battlefield; what was for decades a sleepy village is now dominated by tourism, and nearby modern military installations have helped to give it new life. Join author Wilford Kale as he reveals the many facets of Yorktown.
Custer’s Last Stand remains one of the most iconic events in American history and culture. Had Custer prevailed at the Little Bighorn, the victory would have been noteworthy at the moment, worthy of a few newspaper headlines, but only a few among the many battles with the Plains Indians. In defeat, however tactically inconsequential in the larger conflict, Custer became legend. In Inventing Custer, Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown bridge the gap between the Custer who truly existed and the one we’ve immortalized and mythologized into legend in our generally accepted reading of American history and his significance to it.
Join William C. Connery as he recounts the notable events and battles that occurred in Northern Virginia in 1861 after the firing on Fort Sumter. Beginning in May 1861, both the Confederate and Union armies assembled in Northern Virginia as politicians were deciding how and where the Civil War would be fought. Several months passed as both armies maneuvered and attempted to complete reconnaissance on the other. During this early time, the first officers on both sides were killed; Mount Vernon was declared neutral territory; the Confederate battle flag was adopted; and the first real battles of the war took place in Northern Virginia.

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