Synopses & Reviews
Few events in Civil War history have generated such deliberate mythmaking as the retreat that ended at Appomattox. As the popular imagination would have it, Robert E. Lee's tattered, starving, but devoted troops found themselves hopelessly surrounded through no fault of their beloved commander, who surrendered them rather than sacrifice their lives. Victors and vanquished met at Appomattox in a moving surrender ceremony marked by a spirit of mutual regard.
According to William Marvel, this tale is a tissue of untruths that sprang from the imaginations of Lost Cause historians and Northern and Southern generals well practiced in the art of fabricating popular legend. Marvel offers the first history of the Appomattox campaign written primarily from contemporary source material, with a skeptical eye toward memoirs published well after the events they purport to describe.
Marvel shows that during the final week of the war in Virginia, Lee's troops were more numerous and far less faithful to their cause than has been suggested. Lee himself made mistakes in this campaign, and defeat wrung from him an unusual display of faultfinding. Finally, Marvel proves accounts of the congenial intermingling of the armies at Appomattox to be shamelessly overblown and the renowned exchange of salutes to be apocryphal.
Debunking many of the myths that have surrounded the Confederate retreat to Appomattox, Marvel shows that Lee's last days with the Army of Northern Virginia were chaotic, marked by fierce skirmishes and an uncertain outcome.
"Offers thought-provoking analyses and insights that will likely stir debate."
Washington Post Book World "Marvel sets the record straight on the last retreat and surrender of the Confederate army."
Library Journal "Marvel has cut away much distortion and hyperbole from the Appomattox story."
Washington Times "This book establishes a new baseline for discussions about Lee's last campaign."
Journal of Southern History "This well-written study stands as the best single-volume study to date on the Appomattox Campaign."
Blue & Gray Magazine
About the Author
William Marvel's many books include A Place Called Appomattox, Andersonville: The Last Depot, and The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War, all published by The University of North Carolina Press. He lives in South Conway, New Hampshire.
Table of Contents
2. Monday, April 3
3. Tuesday, April 4
4. Wednesday, April 5
5. Thursday, April 6
6. Friday, April 7
7. Saturday, April 8
8. Sunday, April 9
Appendix A: Troop Strength
Appendix B: The Fatal Delay
Appendix C: The Removal of Anderson, Johnson, and Pickett
Order of Battle
Sources and Acknowledgments
Maps and Illustrations
Map 1. The Appomattox Campaign, April 1-9, 1865
Map 2. April 1-5, 1865
Map 3. April 5-7, 1865
Map 4. Sailor's Creek, High Bridge, and Cumberland Church
Map 5. April 8-9, 1865
Map 6. Appomattox Court House and Appomattox Station
A section of illustrations follows page.