The Last Citadel: Petersburg, June 1864 - April 1865
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- Noah Andre Trudeau
- Pub Date:
- November 2014
- Hardcover, 6 x 9
- Maps, images, 552 pp
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About the Book
This revised Sesquicentennial edition of Noah Andre Trudeau’s The Last Citadel, which includes updated text, redrawn maps, and new material, is a groundbreaking study of the most extensive military operation of the Civil War—the investment of Petersburg, Virginia.
The Petersburg campaign began on June 9, 1864, and ended on April 3, 1865, when Federal troops at last entered the city. It was the longest and most costly siege ever to take place on North American soil, yet it has been overshadowed by other actions that occurred at the same time period, most notably Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea,” and Sheridan’s celebrated Shenandoah Valley campaign. The ten-month Petersburg affair witnessed many more combat actions than the other two combined, and involved an average of 170,000 soldiers, not to mention thousands of civilians who were also caught up in the maelstrom. By its bloody end, the Petersburg campaign would add more than 70,000 casualties to the war’s total.
Petersburg was the key to the war in the East. It lay astride five major railroad lines that in turn supplied the Confederate capital, Richmond. Were Petersburg to fall, these vital arteries would be severed, and Richmond doomed. With the same dogged determination that had seen him through the terrible Overland Campaign, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant fixed his sights on the capture of Petersburg. Grant’s opponent, General Robert E. Lee, was equally determined that the “Cockade City” would not fall.
Trudeau crafts his dramatic and moving story largely through the words of the men and women who were there, including officers, common soldiers, and the residents of Petersburg. What emerges is an epic account rich in human incident and adventure. Based on exhaustive research into official records and unpublished memoirs, letters, and diaries, as well as published recollections and regimental histories, The Last Citadel also includes 23 maps and a choice selection of drawings by on-the-spot combat artists.
With The Last Citadel, the Petersburg campaign at last emerges from the shadows to take its rightful place among the unforgettable sagas of the Civil War.
“The Last Citadel is most impressive, almost like an account of a newly discovered war. How Trudeau amassed so much fresh material is a wonder. I found the narrative powerful and compelling and the air of authenticity complete. The is the first real Civil War narrative I have read in years.” (Burke Davis (1913-2006), author of The Long Surrender and To Appomattox: Nine April Days)
“The Last Citadel succeeds marvelously at presenting the first full portrait of an immensely important operation, the siege of Petersburg. This is popular history at its finest – grounded in very impressive research, written with literary flair, and filled with new testimony from myriad witnesses whose voices help bring into focus one of the war’s most important episodes. The Last Citadel merits the attention of anyone seeking to understand the final phase of the war in Virginia.” (Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, University of Virginia, author of Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty.)
“In the same style as his previous work, Bloody Roads South, Trudeau provides the reader with an easy-to-understand, month-by-month, topic-by-topic description of one of the lesser-known campaigns of the war. With its easy-to-understand maps, period-artist illustrations, and thought-provoking analysis of the entire military operation, this book will be a must for enthusiasts on all levels of interest.” (Chris Calkins, Manager of Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park)
“Trudeau has, with the publication of The Last Citadel, enhanced his reputation as a worthy successor to Bruce Catton. Blending his journalistic talents with those of a historian, Trudeau has given us an outstanding overview of the campaign, one that underscores that good history is more exciting and relevant than the best novel.” (Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus, National Park Service)
Noah Andre Trudeau is a history graduate of the State University of New York at Albany. His first book, Bloody Roads South, won the Civil War Round Table of New York’s prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award, and enjoyed a cameo appearance in the hit web television series House of Cards. His fourth book, Like Men of War, a combat history of black troops in the Civil War, was honored with the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation’s Jerry Coffey Memorial Book Prize. His other books include a best-selling history of the Battle of Gettysburg, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and a compact biography of Robert E. Lee.