The Last Citadel
Petersburg, June 1864 - April 1865
Imprint: Savas Beatie
552 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 24 images, 23 maps
- April 2024
- November 2014
- Out of stock indefinitely. Available in digital formats at the links below.
- December 2014
- Not available
The Petersburg campaign began on June 9, 1864, and ended on April 3, 1865, when Federal troops at last entered the city. It was the longest and most costly siege ever to take place on North American soil, yet it has been overshadowed by other actions that occurred at the same time period, most notably Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea,” and Sheridan’s celebrated Shenandoah Valley campaign. The ten-month Petersburg affair witnessed many more combat actions than the other two combined, and involved an average of 170,000 soldiers, not to mention thousands of civilians who were also caught up in the maelstrom. By its bloody end, the Petersburg campaign would add more than 70,000 casualties to the war’s total.
Petersburg was the key to the war in the East. It lay astride five major railroad lines that in turn supplied the Confederate capital, Richmond. Were Petersburg to fall, these vital arteries would be severed, and Richmond doomed. With the same dogged determination that had seen him through the terrible Overland Campaign, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant fixed his sights on the capture of Petersburg. Grant’s opponent, General Robert E. Lee, was equally determined that the “Cockade City” would not fall.
The dramatic, moving story of The Last Citadel is told largely through the words of the men and women who were there, including officers, common soldiers, and the residents of Petersburg. What emerges is an epic story rich in human incident and adventure. Based on exhaustive research into official records and unpublished memoirs, letters, and diaries, as well as published recollections and regimental histories, The Last Citadel also includes twenty three maps and a choice selection of drawings by on-the-spot combat artists.
This revised sesquicentennial edition of The Last Citadel, now in paperback, features updated text, redrawn maps, additional new material, and a complete redesign. With its reissue, the Petersburg campaign at last emerges from the shadows to take its rightful place among the unforgettable sagas of the Civil War.
“The Last Citadel is most impressive, almost like an account of a newly discovered war. How Trudeau amassed so much fresh material is a wonder. I found the narrative powerful and compelling and the air of authenticity complete. The is the first real Civil War narrative I have read in years.” ~Burke Davis (1913-2006), author of The Long Surrender and To Appomattox: Nine April Days
“The Last Citadel succeeds marvelously at presenting the first full portrait of an immensely important operation, the siege of Petersburg. This is popular history at its finest – grounded in very impressive research, written with literary flair, and filled with new testimony from myriad witnesses whose voices help bring into focus one of the war’s most important episodes. The Last Citadel merits the attention of anyone seeking to understand the final phase of the war in Virginia.” ~Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, University of Virginia, author of Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty.
“In the same style as his previous work, Bloody Roads South, Trudeau provides the reader with an easy-to-understand, month-by-month, topic-by-topic description of one of the lesser-known campaigns of the war. With its easy-to-understand maps, period-artist illustrations, and thought-provoking analysis of the entire military operation, this book will be a must for enthusiasts on all levels of interest.” ~Chris Calkins, Manager of Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park
“Trudeau has, with the publication of The Last Citadel, enhanced his reputation as a worthy successor to Bruce Catton. Blending his journalistic talents with those of a historian, Trudeau has given us an outstanding overview of the campaign, one that underscores that good history is more exciting and relevant than the best novel.” ~Edwin C. Bearss, former Chief Historian of the National Park Service and award-winning author of The Petersburg Campaign: Volume 1, The Eastern Front Battles and Volume 2, The Western Front Battles