Hell or Richmond
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Winner of the American Library Association's 2014 Boyd Award for Literary Excellence in Military Fiction.
Between May 5 and June 3, 1864, the Union and Confederate armies suffered 88,000 casualties. Twenty-nine thousand were killed, wounded or captured in the first two days of combat. The savagery shocked a young, divided nation.
Against this backdrop of the birth of modern warfare and the painful rebirth of the United States, New York Times bestselling novelist Ralph Peters has created a breathtaking narrative that surpasses the drama and intensity of his recent critically acclaimed novel, Cain at Gettysburg.
In Hell or Richmond, thirty days of ceaseless carnage are seen through the eyes of a compelling cast, from the Union's Harvard-valedictorian "boy general," Francis Channing Barlow, to the brawling "dirty boots" Rebel colonel, William C. Oates. From Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee to a simple laborer destined to win the Medal of Honor, Peters brings to life an enthralling array of leaders and simple soldiers from both North and South, fleshing out history with stunning, knowledgeable realism.
From the horrific collision of armies in the Wilderness, where neither side wanted to fight, to the shocking slaughter of the grand charge at Cold Harbor, this epic novel delivers a compelling, authentic, and suspenseful portrait of Civil War combat.
Commemorating the approaching 150th anniversary of this grim encounter between valiant Americans, Ralph Peters brings to bear the lessons of his own military career, his lifelong study of this war and the men who fought it, and his skills as a bestselling, prize-winning novelist to portray horrific battles and sublime heroism as no other author has done.
sort who knew the proper way to do things. Biddle all but touched knees with Ted Lyman, another fine fellow graced with a sharp eye and wit, a Harvard man trained in science by the famed Agassiz himself. Meade had met Lyman ages before, in Florida, where the young man had come bearing letters permitting him to collect starfish under the military’s guardianship. Lyman was bred of Boston’s best, and the two men had hit it off in the Seminole wilderness, where Meade, an aged lieutenant, had been
doubts and acrimony. Why didn’t the Johnnies fire? Surely, they must have seen his men by now? You couldn’t mistake the advance of an entire corps. As his skirmishers emerged from the fog on the far side of the ravine, his lead regiments dipped into the earthbound cloud. A Confederate gun fired. The ball soared overhead. The cannon had not been properly laid. It made no sense. Or was it merely a signal? The beginning of the slaughter? It was certainly a signal to his men. They dropped their
spine upright. He would bend in prayer, but not to the dross of the world. His calling was more Old Testament than Gospels, with a great deal of smiting heathens recommended. “The men of the Fifth New York are a flock in my keeping, sir,” the chaplain announced. “I must not abandon my sheep this day, no more than you would desert your command, Colonel Hammond.” “Chaplain…” Hammond wondered if the man really understood that there was a definite border between life and death. “I just had to leave
and the 15th just passed through most of that fuss at a quickstep amid drifts of smoke as stink-sharp in the nostrils as unwashed quim. Then word came down that Hood was badly wounded and Law had the division. Oates never knew if the next order to his regiment was Hood’s last or one of Law’s first. The courier just pointed in the direction of the two hills off to the right and front, and said, “Colonel Oates, you’re to move off at the oblique and take care of the Yankees on that hill,” and then
commotion off to the west. None of the three men paid it any attention. “I’ve told you,” Grant said. “I have no interest in politics. Not suited for it.” “And I’ve told you, wait and see,” the congressman said. “Never burn a bridge or slam a door.” “I agree,” Rawlins said. “It’s a good thing if Meade’s kept on. Don’t want this army and all the voters in and around it to feel slighted. They may not love him all the way to the shitter, but Meade’s their own.” “Exactly,” Washburne said. “If you