The wide-ranging and largely misunderstood series of operations around Petersburg, Virginia, were the longest and most extensive of the entire Civil War. The fighting that began in early June 1864 when advance elements from the Union Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and botched a series of attacks against a thinly defended city would not end for nine long months. This important—many would say decisive—fighting is presented by legendary Civil War author Edwin C. Bearss in The Petersburg Campaign: The Western Front Battles, September 1864 – April 1865, Volume 2, the second in a ground-breaking, two-volume compendium.
Although commonly referred to as the “Siege of Petersburg,” that city (as well as the Confederate capital at Richmond) was never fully isolated and the combat involved much more than static trench warfare. In fact, much of the wide-ranging fighting involved large-scale Union offensives designed to cut important roads and the five rail lines feeding Petersburg and Richmond. This volume of Bearss’ study includes these major battles:
- Peeble’s Farm (September 29 – October 1, 1864)
- Burgess Mills (October 27, 1864)
- Hatcher Run (February 5 – 7, 1865)
- Fort Stedman (March 25, 1865)
- Five Forks Campaign (March 29 – April 1, 1865)
- The Sixth Corps Breaks Lee’s Petersburg Lines (April 2, 1865)
Accompanying these salient chapters are original maps by Civil War cartographer Steven Stanley, together with photos and illustrations. The result is a richer and deeper understanding of the major military episodes comprising the Petersburg Campaign.