“The turn of things on that memorable morning was a turn that filled the soul with gladness. At dawning of day, we could see comrades bleeding, dying and dead, and it was sad to see our fallen heroes, but high above the sobs of death could be heard the shouts of victory, victory, victory.”
— Sgt. Francis Cordrey, 126th Ohio Infantry

Layout 1Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 2, 1865
by Edward S. Alexander

Savas Beatie, 2015
168 pp.; 180 images, 7 maps
Click here to order

*    *     *

About the Book: 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 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.

*    *     *

Dawn of Victory also includes:

  • Appendix A:“Field Fortifications: A Glossary of Terms”
  • Appendix B: “’The Hardships of This March: Sheridan’s Return to the Army of the Potomac” by Daniel T. Davis
  • Appendix C: “Pamplin Historical Park”
  • Order of Battle
  • Suggested Reading
  • About the Author

Footnotes and Sources

*    *     *

About the Author: Edward S. Alexander is a park ranger at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, site of the Breakthrough Battlefield in Petersburg, Virginia. His work in preserving, maintaining, and interpreting these grounds allows him to guide readers across this hallowed ground. Edward is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.A. in history. He has previously worked with Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He is also a contributing historian at Emerging Civil War (www.emergingcivilwar.com).

4 Responses to Dawn of Victory

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!