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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Publication of "The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad August 1864"

More than two years ago Ted Savas of SavasBeatie invited me to revise The Destruction of the Weldon Railroad: Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams Station, August 14-25, 1864, which was published in 1991.  Next week the revised edition is due out from SavasBeatie as The Siege of Petersburg:  The Battles for the Weldon Railroad August 1864.  I have rewritten and expanded the text, added nine maps to the original thirteen for a total of twenty-two, created four tables to help the reader understand the combat efficiency of both sides, inserted more personal details about the heroes involved on both sides, and provided a broader perspective from which to view the battles for the Weldon Railroad in the history of warfare. 

Hampton Newsome, the author of Richmond Must Fall (about the October 1864 fighting around Petersburg) drew the maps for the new edition.  Here is a sample, a map of some of the fighting near Deep Bottom on August 14, 1864:

Here is an example, from my account of the fighting around Globe Tavern on August 19, 1864, of the kind of details I have added about the heroes on both sides:  "Hartranft's soldiers had no idea that Weisiger's brigade stood poised to attack them from behind.  'Much of the fighting was in thick woods and we never knew which was our front or rear until attacked, as the Johnnies seemed to come from all directions,' recalled Orderly Sergeant Howard Aston of Company F, 13th Ohio Cavalry (dismounted) in Hartranft's brigade.  Discharged from the 97th Ohio Infantry for heart disease, Aston had reenlisted in the 5th Independent Battalion Ohio Cavalry, and when that terms of enlistment expired, in the 13th Ohio Cavalry." 
To put the battles for the Weldon Railroad in their proper context in the history of warfare, I drew on the works of military historians such as Col. T. N. Dupuy, Maj. Gen. J. F. C. Fuller, Maj. Gen. F. W. von Mellenthin, Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein, Field Marshal Wavell of Winchester and Cyrenaica, and Field Marshal von Manstein.