With On to Petersburg, Gordon C. Rhea completes his much-lauded history of the Overland Campaign, a series of Civil War battles fought between Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in southeastern Virginia in the spring of 1864.
On to Petersburg follows the Union army's movement to the James River, the military response from the Confederates, and the initial assault on Petersburg, which Rhea suggests marked the true end of the Overland Campaign. Beginning his account in the immediate aftermath of Grant's three-day attack on Confederate troops at Cold Harbor, Rhea argues that the Union general's primary goal was not - as often supposed - to take Richmond, but rather to destroy Lee's army by closing off its retreat routes and disrupting its supply chains. While Grant struggled at times to communicate strategic objectives to his subordinates and to adapt his army to a faster-paced, more flexible style of warfare, Rhea suggests that the general successfully shifted the military landscape in the Union's favor.
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