- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
Available April 2014
Bloody Spring: Forty Days That Sealed the Confederacy's Fateby Joseph Wheelan
Synopses & Reviews
For forty crucial days they fought a bloody struggle. When it was over, the Civil War's tide had turned.
In the spring of 1864, Virginia remained unbroken, its armies having repelled Northern armies for more than two years. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had defeated the campaigns of four Union generals, and Lee's veterans were confident they could crush the Union offensive this spring, too. But their adversary in 1864 was a different kind of Union commander—Ulysses S. Grant. The new Union general-in-chief had never lost a major battle while leading armies in the West. A quiet, rumpled man of simple tastes and a bulldog's determination, Grant would lead the Army of the Potomac in its quest to destroy Lee's army.
During six weeks in May and June 1864, Grant's army campaigned as no Union army ever had. During nearly continual combat operations, the Army of the Potomac battered its way through Virginia, skirting Richmond and crossing the James River on one of the longest pontoon bridges ever built. No campaign in North American history was as bloody as the Overland Campaign. When it ended outside Petersburg, more than 100,000 men had been killed, wounded, or captured on battlefields in the Wilderness, near Spotsylvania Court House, and at Cold Harbor. Although Grant's casualties were nearly twice Lee's, the Union could replace its losses. The Confederacy could not.
Lee's army continued to fight brilliant defensive battles, but it never mounted another major offensive. Grant's spring 1864 campaign had tipped the scales permanently in the Union's favor. The war's denouement came less than a year later with Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.
A unique and compelling examination of the Civil Wars turning point”—forty crucial days in the spring of 1864 that turned the tide for the Union
In the spring of 1864, Robert E. Lee faced a new adversary: Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. Named commander of all Union armies in March, Grant quickly went on the offensive against Lee in Virginia. On May 4, Grants army struck hard across the Rapidan River into north-central Virginia, with Lees army contesting every mile. They fought for forty days until, finally, the Union army crossed the James River and began the siege of Petersburg.
The campaign cost 90,000 men—the largest loss the war had seen. While Grant lost nearly twice as many men as Lee did, he could replace them. Lee could not and would never again mount another major offensive. Lees surrender at Appomattox less than a year later was the denouement of the drama begun in those crucial forty days.
About the Author
Joseph Wheelan, a former reporter and editor for the Associated Press, is the author of several books, including Jeffersons War and Terrible Swift Sword. He lives in Cary, North Carolina.
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Military » Civil War » General