A Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3)
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When first published in 1953, Bruce Catton, our foremost Civil War historian was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for excellence in nonfiction. This final volume of The Army of the Potomac trilogy relates the final year of the Civil War.
reassembled in and around a reviewing stand in an open field for a grand review of the II Corps, with the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac taking the salute as the long ranks of veterans went past. Like the dance, the review was an occasion: a quiet reminder, if anybody needed one, that dances and bright officers and everything else rested finally on the men in the ranks, who went to no parties and who could be turned out to parade their strength for the admiration of the officers’
have to be carried by the old-timers, the men who had survived many terrible battles and whose numbers, by the mere law of averages, must be about due to come up. The veteran who was asked to re-enlist had a good many things to think about. A man in the 3rd Michigan wrote: “After serving three years for our country cannot we go home, satisfied that we have done our share toward putting down the rebellion, and let those who stayed at home come and give their time as long; the country is as dear
asking Sheridan if he would not reconsider the order that wrecked a soldier’s career. “Reconsider, hell!” boomed Sheridan. “I don’t reconsider my decisions! Obey the order!” Silently, Warren rode off in the dusk, and Sheridan went on trying to organize a force to break through to the railroad.13 Actually, no more could be done that night. No more needed to be done. To all practical purposes, Pickett’s force had been wiped out. Thousands of prisoners were on their way back to the provost
officer who longed to get away from camp and parade ground and live quietly as a teacher of mathematics; a man apparently beset by infinite loneliness, with a profound need for the warm, healing, understanding intimacy that can overleap shyness. Greatly fortunate, he found this intimacy with his wife, whom he still loved as a young man loves his first sweetheart, and when he was long away from her he seems to have been a little less than whole. On the eve of every great battle, after he became a
he repeated. “What is two gallons of whisky among one man?” 9 To do the army justice, it did not worry about Grant’s drinking. A general who never got drunk was a rarity—so much so that his sobriety was always mentioned in his biography, as a sign that he stood above the common run. What troubled the officer corps—and, to an extent, the enlisted man as well—was the fact that Grant came from the West. The West seemed to be a side show where a general could win a reputation without really