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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Atlanta or Petersburg--Which Is the Real Rodney Dangerfield of Civil War Campaigns?

At the beginning of The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864, I called the Petersburg Campaign the Rodney Dangerfield ("I don't get no respect") of Civil War campaigns.  Since then, my search for regimental statistics from the Army of Tennessee (to provide perspective on the Petersburg Regiment, the 12th Virginia Infantry), has taken me west to fights from Belmont and Logan's Crossroads through Nashville and Bentonville.  What I have found suggests to me that Atlanta, not Petersburg, is the real Rodney Dangerfield of Civil War campaigns.

Why do I say that?  The Siege of Petersburg was the longest, bloodiest action of the war.  On the other hand, the siege was indecisive.  The Atlanta Campaign decided the war.  Furthermore, there are probably fewer books on the Atlanta Campaign and its subsidiary fights than on the Siege of Petersburg and the actual battles it comprises.