"No One Wants to be the Last to Die": The Battles of Appomattox, April 8-9, 1865

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Chris Calkins/Robert Dunkerly
Pub Date:
March 2023
trade paper, 6 x 9
64 images, 13 maps, 276 pp.
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Unfortunately, due to illness Mr. Calkins is unable to sign a bookplate.

About the Book

This groundbreaking study chronicles the final battles in Virginia at Appomattox Station and Appomattox Court House in April 1865. Author Chris Calkins, who recently retired as the Site Manager at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park, is widely recognized as the war’s foremost authority on the battles of Appomattox and the Appomattox Campaign. “No One Wants to Be the Last to Die” leads readers through the final two days of combat in Virginia, detailing the climactic events at Appomattox Station and Appomattox Court House.

Calkins, whose knowledge of the sources and the countryside through which this drama unfolds is unsurpassed, has completely revised and updated this edition of his earlier work published decades ago as part of the H. E. Howard Virginia Battles and Leaders Series. Readers will welcome its return to print.



“This book, written by the pioneer of Appomattox Campaign history, remains the definitive treatment of the final combat in the Virginia theater of the Civil War. Written as well as it is researched, Calkins’s prose reflects his deep understanding of events and terrain surrounding April 8–9, 1865.” — A. Wilson Greene, author of A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg

“During a career of extraordinary public service, Chris Calkins established himself as a leading expert on the Appomattox Campaign through his tireless research, interpretation, and community outreach. This revised and updated edition of his study covering the last days of Grant’s famous campaign against Lee is a welcome arrival. Deeply researched and clearly written, this book deserves to be on the shelf of anyone interested in the close of the Civil War.” — Hampton Newsome, author of Gettysburg’s Southern Front: Opportunity and Failure at Richmond

 “Chris Calkins’s groundbreaking research on the battles of Appomattox in ‘No One Wants to Be the Last to Die’ has stood the test of time and is the only full-length book to cover in detail those forgotten, but decisively important engagements.” — G. Howard Gregory, past president Lynchburg Civil War Roundtable

Chris Calkins is the author of a dozen publications and many articles and was popular on the speaking circuit. Chris received the 2014 Award of Merit “for his dedication to preserving the Civil War battlefield landscape of Virginia” from the American Association for State and Local History, one of only three Virginians to receive this award. In 2020, he was bestowed with the Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award for extraordinary work in historic preservation. The Detroit native graduated from Longwood College (now University) in Farmville, Virginia, and lives in a restored 18th-century Georgian home in Petersburg’s Old Town Historic District. Robert M. (Bert) Dunkerly studied history at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, and historic preservation at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, where he first began studying the battle. He has given tours of the battlefield and researched its history, preservation, and National Cemetery. He has authored three other books in the Emerging Civil War Series and is active in historic preservation and research.