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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 1861. The South was winning the Civil War. Fort Sumter had fallen to the Confederates. The Federal army was routed at Manassas. The blockade of Southern ports was a farce; commerce and weapons flowed almost as freely as before the war. There were stirrings of interest from foreign powers in recognizing the Confederacy and brokering a forced peace accord. The Federals needed to turn the tide. The largest fleet ever assembled by the United States set its sights on the South Carolina coast for this much-needed victory. On November 7, 1861, this mighty weapon of war engaged two undermanned and outgunned forts in Hilton Head in a clash called the Battle of Port Royal. Join historian Michael Coker as he tells the story of this largely forgotten battle, a pivotal turning point in the war that defined our nation.
The battle at Virginia's Big Bethel Church, known as the Civil War's first land battle, was a baptism of fire for a nation newly torn apart by civil war. Northern and Southern soldiers alike could not imagine how fiery passions and technological advances would collide into America's bloodiest war, all beginning that hot, cloudless day at Bethel, as the shells burst among the smartly clad Zouaves. Here, the war saw its first friendly fire incident, the death of the first West Point graduate, the death of the first Confederate infantryman and the first Confederate victory. Join award-winning historian John Quarstein as he details the story of the June 10, 1861 battle, when soldiers first realized that the war would not be filled with glorious parades but rather desperate struggles to decide the fate of the nation.

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