Trench Warfare under Grant and Lee : Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign
Continuing the study of field fortifications he began inField Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War, Earl J. Hess turns to the 1864 Overland campaign to cover battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. A grueling form of trench warfare became a key feature of tactical operations during this phase of the war in Virginia. Drawing on meticulous research in primary sources and careful examination of trench remnants at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and Bermuda Hundred, Hess describes Union and Confederate earthworks and how Grant and Lee used them in this new era of field entrenchments. According to Hess, the heavy reliance on earthworks by both armies in the Overland campaign was driven by Grant's relentless attacks against Lee, not by the widespread use of rifle muskets, as historians have previously argued. Entrenchments kept the armies within striking distance and compelled soldiers to dig in for protection. Despite suffering massive casualties, Grant seized control of the strategic initiative and retained it for the rest of the war in the eastern theater.
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University of North Carolina Press
September 23, 2007
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