Swallowed Up in Victory: A Civil War Narrative, Petersburg, 1864-1865

Lee Passarella

  • Swallowed Up in Victory: A Civil War Narrative, Petersburg, 1864-1865

The date is June 19, 1864, and the Army of the Potomac has once again squandered an advantage that might have shortened the Civil War, already three years old. Having, undetected by the Confederates, dispatched his vast army to the south side of the James River, General Grant had every right to expect his troops to crush any resistance along the lightly held Dimmock Line protecting Petersburg. Instead, through the bad management of his generals, Grant’s initiative fails tragically, and both armies hunker down for a siege that will last 10 grueling months.

Swallowed Up in Victory traces the history of the siege through letters and journal entries of a group of fictitious participants in the struggle: a learned and cynical captain of infantry from Philadelphia; a used-up sergeant major from Connecticut; the wife of an engineer living in Petersburg; a corporal of U.S. Colored Troops who hails from Chicago; an especially rebellious corporal from Charleston; a romantically inclined young German American from New York; and a militant South Carolina chaplain. Their accounts highlight both the despair and triumph that the struggle over Petersburg provided in abundance, demonstrating as well the self-deprecating humor that managed to sustain both sides through the worst of the conflict.

The story of all the great battles unfolds in the pages of their writings: the Crater, Deep Bottom, the actions along the Weldon Railroad, Hatcher’s Run, Fort Stedman, Five Forks, and the Army of Virginia’s final indignity at Sailor’s Creek. It’s a story told with immediacy, with both pathos and dark irony, and with drama.

“Lee Passarella’s Swallowed Up in Victory is rich history told in flexible blank verse. Centered on the terrible battle of Petersburg, it recreates, with a passionate and knowing voice, the end of the Civil War through the lives of men and women caught up in the bloodshed, as both sides forced weaker, sicker, and untrained men into battle. Passarella’s epic is as compelling and engrossing as a novel.”

Andrew Hudgins, author of “After the Lost War”

Book
Author Lee Passarella
Pages 276
Images 26
Maps 4
Bibliography Yes
Index No

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  • $19.95

Tags: 9781572493018, Lee Passarella