After the unprecedented violence of the 1864 Overland Campaign, Union Lt.
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant turned his gaze south of Richmond to Petersburg, where the railroads that supplied the Confederate capital and its defenders found their junction.
Nine grueling months of constant maneuver and combat around the "Cockade City" followed.
Massive fortifications dominated the landscape, and both armies frequently pushed each other to the brink of disaster. As March 1865 drew to a close, Grant planned one more charge against Confederate lines.
Despite recent successes, many viewed this latest task as an impossibility-and their trepidation had merit."These lines might well have been looked upon by the enemy as impregnable," admitted Maj.
Gen. Horatio G. Wright, "and nothing but the most resolute bravery could have overcome them."Grant ordered the attack for April 2, 1865, setting the stage for a dramatic early morning bayonet charge by his Sixth Corps across half a mile of open ground into the"strongest line of works ever constructed in America."Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg by Edward S.
Alexander tells the story of the men who fought and died in the decisive battle of the Petersburg Campaign.
Readers can follow the footsteps of the resolute Union attackers and stand in the shoes of the obstinate Confederate defenders as their actions decided the fate of the nation.