Thomas Dunne Books
On Sale: November 8, 2011
Hardcover / e-Book
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With The Battle of the Crater, New York Times bestselling
authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen take readers
to the center of a nearly forgotten Civil War confrontation,
a battle that was filled with controversy and
misinterpretation even before the attack began. Drawing on
years of research, the authors weave a complex narrative
interweaving the high aspirations of African American troops
eager to prove themselves in battle and the anxiety of a
President who knows the nation cannot bear another major defeat.
June 1864: the Civil War is now into its fourth year of
bloody conflict with no end in sight. The armies of the
North are stalled in fetid trenches outside of Richmond and
Atlanta, and the reelection of Abraham Lincoln to a second
term seems doomed to defeatâ€”a defeat that will set off the
call for an end to the conflict, dismembering the Union and
Only one group of volunteers for the Union cause is still
eager for battle. Nearly two hundred thousand men of color
have swarmed the recruiting stations and are being mobilized
into regiments known as the USCTs, the United States Colored
Troops. General Ambrose Burnside, a hard luck commander out
of favor with his superiors, is one of the few generals
eager to bring a division of these new troops into his
ranks. He has an ingenious plan to break Fort Pegram, the
closest point on the Confederate line, defending
Petersburgâ€”the last defense of Richmondâ€”by tunneling forward
from the Union position beneath the fort to explode its
defenses. Burnside needs the USCTs for one desperate rush
that just might bring victory.
The risks are high. Will Burnside be allowed to proceed or
will interference from on high doom his plan to failure?
The battleground drama unfolds through the eyes of James
Reillyâ€”famed artist, correspondent, and friend of Lincoln,
who has been employed by the president to be his eyes and
ears amongst the men, sending back an honest account of the
front. In so doing, he befriends Sergeant Major Garland
White of the 28th USCT regiment, an escaped slave and
minister preparing his comrades for a frontal assault that
will either win the war, or result in their annihilation.
The Battle of the Crater is Gingrich and Forstchenâ€™s most
compelling fact-based work yet, presenting little known
truths, long forgotten in the files of correspondence, and
the actual court of inquiry held after the attack. The
novel draws a new and controversial conclusion while
providing a sharp, rousing and harshly realistic view of
politics and combat during the darkest year of the Civil
War. This must-read work rewrites our understanding of one
of the great battles of the war, and the all but forgotten role
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