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tv   Road to Appomattox  CSPAN  September 24, 2017 10:00am-10:56am EDT

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communicators monday night at eight eastern on c-span two. on the civil war, author ralph peters talks about his look "judgment at the appomattox." robert e. lee and ulysses s. the book describesrobert e. lee and ulysses s. grant leading to the surrender of the army of virginia in the gettysburg 1865. heritage foundation hosted this talk that is just under one hour. >> it is great pleasure that i get to introduce ralph peters. for those of you unfamiliar with ralph he is a prize-winning best- selling author of a wide range of books from his civil war novels to strategic analysts. extensive overseas experience he is currently a fox news strategic analyst. as a researcher and journalist he has covered conflicts from
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west africa to iraq and has written on security and global affairs for a wide range of newspapers and magazines. book,itical acclaimed which began with gettysburg, the value of the shadow, richmond, the dam at petersburg and will conclude with justice at conclude with judgment at appomattox, will be released on august 29. >> it will have a better cover. >> yes, it will have a better cover. [laughter] you all will see a special advanced copy. we do have copies available over labor day weekend. i apologize that this is not released until the end of august. there will be opportunities to get signed copies. we are really grateful to have you back here, ralph. >> thank you. >> he has been coming here since he is one of our favorites we 2013, haven't the heritage center. ralph: thank you.
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[applause] ralph let me get my regular : microphone back. it is great to be back. everyone knows that this is a special place. gettysburg is, and it is certainly a haunted place. whenever i go here i get excited and i want to give you the best i can think we have a general hunch here today, a hero of gettysburg and a chief of artillery. at the end of this decade of my life i have been doing these five book cycles of gettysburg to appomattox, and the eastern theater, overs -- obviously there is a sense of accomplishment. but there is also a sense but even though i am incredibly proud of these books, they are the best thing i have done in my life read nevertheless you are always aware that it will fall short. as a member of the audience and i were discussing earlier you can , approximate the best we can
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but we will not fully recapture what they felt and what they did. as those of you who have been kind enough to follow me all through these books come out what i am trying to do is get beyond just the most famous names. and give credit to the second tier or third tier characters who often are the ones who win the battles. and also to get beyond the cold statistics of humanity. the frustrating wonderful, cowardly and courageous heroic ignoble, appalling , selfish, selfless, brilliant complexity of the men who fought that war, and the women behind the men, and m thames beside them. the men, andbehind sometimes, beside them. you always know that you will fall short, you know you did your best. even though the new book
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is not out until august 29 i want to talk about it. i want to talk about the appomattox campaign for a number of reasons. i am going to do something i usually do not do. i want to read a few passages. that pertains directly to this effort to recapture what they felt, what it was like for them. first of all the appomattox campaign, for most people who have a superficial awareness of the civil war, it sort of goes from petersburg and then jumps to appomattox. this campaign, brief though it may have been which if you go from fort , stedman onwards it is barely two weeks. and i date it from fort stedman onwards. some historians will date that from sheridan's move from the 29th. wherever you date it, there is an incredibly high drama. every single day is a fight.
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whether it is at fort stedman in the beginning with generally -- lee's first attempt breaking out on his own terms to the , courthouse obviously the five the union breakthrough. all of these skirmishes day to day. sailor's creek, cumberland church all of these dramatic to the lastt up morning with a brick got appomattox, or full of high drama. emotions are running very high. for blood,s out sensing that they have the endgame. , the army not quit was crumbling around them. we'll start with fort stedman, the attack on march 25. the winter has been hard.
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not a lot of snow in that winter of 1865. but it was a bitter winter. people are not starving but the troops are hungry and they are malnourished scurvy was a problem, i attended by various other diseases to read this should in army of northern virginia or up to a few hundred a night, coming over. they knew it was helpless, and they were hungry. enough, they also had union soldiers deserting the confederacy to robert e lee's and then running to the petersburg line at night. that i cannot figure out. except for the fact that they did not want to fight. when you get to fort stedman the back story is that robert e. lee knows that he was pinned.
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he knows his last desperate hope is to breakout and give grant the slip and get to carolina. defeat sherman and their combined armies will turn around and defeat grant. almost hopeless, but he is not going to quit. he is finding the bright star of the confederacy. he has no military background before the war, john brown gordon. he was one of those men with a genius for war he had been a , lawyer and a newspaper man. when john gordon puts on a uniform he finds it. that he finds his metier. he is closest in some ways to grant. grant was not meant to do anything else after he became a successful politician and so forth. but lee task gordon to come up to punch through the and just punish
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them, disrupt armies so much in the potomac so badly unsettled grant so much, just to buy enough time to leave, move out and get north carolina. davis,s time, president of the confederacy would not listen to the. lee was trying to warn him saying, i cannot hold out much longer. davis felt like welcome i have heard all of this before. so when it did collapse, richmond was not ready. gordon, does his very best, and lee gives him control of about half of the army of northern virginia for this attack on fort hedman. of the union lines at fort stedman, just south of the james river. remember, over the months, the line had already been very fortified. -- fort stedman,
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the union lines and the federal bash the confederacy lines had come very close. lee had sent out spies getting reports back, thinking that they know everything about -- behind the union lines that they could not see. in the predawn hours, in the dark, he said you're going to make a night attack, punch through and by donnie will have --ken through best buy don by dawn you will have broken through. reallydon thought he was prepared, but john brown gordon was always the man who always had good luck until fort stedman. there will be more on that after i do the first reading. but the first reading describes what it was like to be a private
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in the platoon-sized six louisiana affiliated forever with the louisiana tigers. they are tough guys. irish,e overwhelmingly and the part i'm going to read to you is about the initial wave , of the attack. gordon sent his own divisions of orps forward, men who he trusted and new that would do the job. always try to do in all of the books. even the privates are real people. we do not know terribly much sent, wes man, that he know that he was a recent immigrant into numeral lanes. -- into new orleans. we know he was captured at least twice that he's been some time in the hospital but he is now back in the fight to this is really at the beginning of the battle. i will not even get to the bloodiest part. i am trying to give voices to the dead.
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to bring them alive as people. how did they speak? how do they think? what was it like? these guys go forward into the dark. some of them white, with cloth tied to their sleeves or tied to the back of their caller -- collar. it is something you can see in the dark when you do a night attack you have to the shoulder to shoulder, literally touching the guy next to you at these situations, because they can spin out of control. as quiet as he could they have cleared the links to the obstacles and they have engineers ready to move forward. they are ready to go forward and chop the way through the union stedman, pushfor out and take the surrounding batteries and take the flanking force. everything was supposed to go right. but in war, nothing ever goes
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perfectly right. this is private daniel pushing -- private daniel worden pushing , out into the no man's land of the attack. >>'twas black is a englishman ,".l, a rifle left unloaded on different orders but the tip of the bayonet cap sharpened. there was this wave of strategy -- squinty irishman swept from louisiana into the war. every man hoped he would not be skewered by a mess made. keep a touch of that stinker next to him, as feet fell forward in the dark. a whole line past in the time it took to stumble and move forward. no man spoke a word. small misers -- small noises
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were enough. that the fungal axes on winter worn wood, a terrible nayng of hundreds, thousands of shoes. with the thump of axes no shots yet paid hundreds and thousands of shoes wore thin. one-shot, too. recovering to sense his way in the dark. it should have gone off at the circus. attention recognize from battles in prisons and brawls. shouts and struggles as a surprise. jesus, cried the man next to him. more shots, help the call no. he turned from curiosity, a vice more troubled than drink.
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a hurry of hands pulled the -- the call on the the colonel out. he cursed and ran out of was keeping why were they running downhill? their purpose was to attack before. even if they would not put it on a downslope that they have mistaken their way. how differently based on that he always knew the officers. half left. then came the price few of a candidate greeted by a bright flash of faces like his own. other guns flared, they spotted the rampart ahead. swarmed to seventh, still they raced for the wall, fearful of the cannons on the front. but there were none, or none tended to. up and over.
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men howled out of habit. instinct led his rifle as he blocked the blundering man who was wearing no ribbon. to close for the bayonet, he slammed his rifle into the man's valley. the weapon raised a -- grazed his head and cluttered down. he brought this down onto his partners shoulder beating him to the ground. when the yankee had been laid smashed where his head should be. not even a last cry from the fall and federal. that is the point, he grunted. then at attack accelerates and gets dramatic. [laughter] rate, the attack starts off well. they take fort stedman. the yankees are surprised, a brigadier general captured.
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the branch out and take batteries. then, it starts to fall apart. the units start to break out in the dark. they cannot take the flanking force. the union artillery turns and insulates them. in pennsylvania a general who is now in command of a group of overloading the green pennsylvania recruits, he manages to rally these men and these pennsylvania's, just at the right moment when everything hangs in the balance, they slam into the confederates who are full of confusion. trying to take the forts. there has already been a big problem for gordon. he stuck by stedman, trying to bring order to things, but they could not get enough troops forward, because the lanes they had opened were too narrow. the troops that do get forward are moving into each other.
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blundering into each other. slowly you have the first dawn light as the union line is forming up. and gordon had said, they had picks commandos, forward, to ports.ep ports -- key he has been assured that they are thereby scouts and spies. he has these commandos out there, three teams looking for the fort and they sent runners back sammy cannot find them. -- we cannot find these forts, where are they? they did not exist. it was just that bad intelligence. the intelligence is never perfect. even with all of the stuff that we have today. by the way the union has much better intelligence than the confederates do, but that is another story. at any rate this last attack , falters and falls apart. the troops are running back as guns are hitting the stuff --
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-- hitting them on all sides at this point. 3000 confederates are lost, police and army. at this point, the numbers are hard to pin down. but general lee had 55 to 58,000, and the federal forces in the union had over twice that size. the confederates have more rifles in the field per unit. we cannot afford to lose that many troops. then, the union counterattacks somewhere elsewhere on the left flank, that morning making a bit of progress. this is setting up for the big push. they know it is coming. then, lee gets a reprieve. it rains heavily. his artillery general has been
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defying orders already by showing up at petersburg. he turned him loose, closes the gap, gets to the appomattox. is in a number of books in the series, was a brilliant soldier. but just a snake of a man. during the war, he at least takes care of the subordinates, but he is vicious with his rivals. very ambitious man, who was glory hungry. again, a terrific soldier. terrific soldiers are not always the guys who are here or again wonderful, you are getting. at any rate after the conference and local conferences, some involving lincoln, grant is almost tired of hearing phil pester him. he says fine, if you get through this month go ahead and try it. -- through this mod, go ahead and try it.
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so, sheridan heads for the courthouse, and it is muddy, a crawling, slow and driving rain. he puts his best cavalry inmander, george custer charge of protecting the trains. why? he knows if anyone can move those wagons through the mud it will be the general custer. the cavalry work their way out to the courthouse and move forward. lee, his cavalry, picking his finest hour, soon to be followed by his worst, he really handed it to sheridan. he is pushed back at the dinwiddie courthouse, and is only saved because custer has been pulled up and does his usual rabbit out of a hat magic trick of luck. they stabilize the lines. meanwhile, there has been an andmpt on braddock road,
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general little round top, has been thinking about what he saw that day and he rises. they pushed sheridan south, the sixth corps had held. there is this gap that opened up in the army. his idea is that weekend cut off part of the corporate body as it were. it is raining, telegraph lines are not all the way out. messages were getting lost. they would get crossed. but lee, gets his message and he says, he is right. he takes it to ground, but he does not tell grant that warren came up with the idea, not because lee is trying to take the glory, no he is not -- grant
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is met at warren. everyone is mad at warren. grant is a type of guy who knows what the boss should do, and is not afraid to tell the boss what to do. . so grand gives sheridan the command of the six core -- the sixth corps. also the secret authority to relieve or in. sheridan is that going a chance going to miss a chance to push up a rival. they have really is at the last minute that they have to pull back because there is a gap. they cannot go back public to the railroad. he has made it clear that they have got to hold five forts. that would be the key to hold in the railroad and everything else. runs plan was good, but phil sheridan was not coming in.
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sheridan, while he has lawrence three divisions was going to do something different. he is going to take his cavalry corps and attack frontally well his divisions are moving around their flank. he gives him specific orders to be on this axis. accept, feel sheridan's cavalry got it wrong as to where the confederate line is. phil sheridan's cavalry got it wrong as to where the confederate line is. in the attack the six car is moving right past the confederates. -- the sixth corps is moving right past the candidates. he thinks it ends here but it actually ends over here. suddenly they see that the confederates are over there. it turned out better because the sixthcorps pivots. what other confederate commanders doing while all this is happening? the union cavalry is pushing on the front.
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well, fits lee and ticket --fitz picket had been invited to a whipping. he was assured that sheridan would not attack that day. they are not even two miles from the battlefield, to the north, across the stream but there is a sound anomaly, something that happens during the war. as they are, because of the cloud cover, they cannot hear the canon, o -- let alone the rifles. where is fitz lee, where is the cavalry, we need to move? and these guys were in the back getting drunk. it is a nice afternoon and they are telling stories and having a good old time. the only way they find out what is going on, is they think they may have heard a little rifle
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fire. they send some scouts down and as soon as the scouts crossed the stream and -- in full them, the union infantry emerge from the woods and capture the lead scout. after that they relate something is it is just shattered. his cavalry are terribly embarrassed. it is a debacle and they lose good men and there was thousands of listeners. they are push back on surveillance station. at this point grant knows it is time for the big push. in the very early hours of april 2 to push comes. the breakthrough at multiple points. john brown gordon, manages to hold the eastern front, near the southeast of petersburg.
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to keep the yankees out of petersburg itself. a hero extends such as the one at fort bragg, -- a heroic stance, like the one at fort bragg. they are just delaying the union long enough to get to the afternoon. i am describing this very much in detail in the book. it is incredibly dramatic. as the confederates are just trying to hold on till dark so they cross the bridge of -- north of appomattox, head down the peninsula between the james end of appomattox, head west, still trying to reach joe johnson. there is fighting down at sutherland station. the move is so quick, the message that it has to leave, which is jefferson davis while he is in charge. he is initially just furious because he cannot believe that lee let him down like this. .ichmond turns into a debacle it becomes one thing after another because they do not want
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drunkenness they break open all of the whiskey barrels and pour them out. you have people lying in the gutters drinking all of the whiskey, men and women. they decided to destroy the government stores so they do not fall on union hands. the confederates would set them on fire. and of course the fire got out , of control. what happens when you wait a fire near and ammunition warehouse where gunpowder is stored? so there are explosions and richmond's heart is burned out to the flames are stopped just south of the federal capital. today, itill with us is now the virginia statehouse of course. but we was a wild and absolute debacle. all this while the confederates are moving with amazingly agile grace and speed. he gets his troops north of the james river. they are matching but they have to leave their guns behind and be there provisions behind.
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they are already low on provisions to begin with. these men started the march hungry, and they will get hungrier as it goes. they had ordered up trains, physical look amazing -- locomotives, not just supply trains to beat them to the amelia courthouse. hoping to bring the garrison of richmond down. to draw the russians at the court house and keep marching. again, there's drama and more drama and more drama, they get to a million courthouse and boxcars waiting full of harnesses, uniforms, artillery and in -- artillery ammunition and not one ration. and these troops had nothing to eat. lee decided that they had to eat. he had to pull the army away. he delays and sends out a proclamation to the people, thatmillion county,
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please, our troops, you troops, your soldiers need food after a long-winded proclamation. they pause overnight. the wagons come back almost all of them empty. it has been picked over. the federal government has a ready confiscated virtually everything. the people are just trying to survive, themselves. so, feel sheridan, is a killer. and he is rushing and pushing ahead. his great rival, sorry i forgot, bravely leading at five forks in this great victory, sheridan fires him and claims all the genius of the victory for himself. and govern award has served all through the wal wore heroically
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and courageously. he is open-hearted, spending decades trying to clear his name. but sheridan is really cruel. his great rival was george mead. the republic had room for three heroes. grant was one, sheridan was going to be the other and who was going to be the third? he wanted it to be sheridan, if you could help it. meade, when sheridan is pushing ahead, meade ckeeps pushing supplies forward to help sheridan. everyday is a fight for delaying action. then you get to the real lack -- the real black thursday of the confederacy, dealers creek. if you haven't been there, you need to go. there were three separate battles. what has happened is long streets corps has pushed ahead. gordon's corps is the rearguard. in the middle you have the anderson boys picket, yule, the
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, naval brigade about the size actually, drawn from that richmond navy yard and defense batteries. and by the way, the less confederates on the field of five forks to surrender were actually the sailors. they fought to the bitter end. forks, it starts out with custer at his best and he sees a break in the line, as the wagon trains are holding things up. i am simplifying, there is much more detail in the hope. the wagon trains were holding the confederates up and custer sees a chance, as do other, we commanders, and they start gnawing, six charging again and again. they do not let the confederates move forward. so, the confederate center is fixed at five forks. meanwhile, another batch of trains that gordon is supposed to be protecting get ordered off
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,o the north toward highbridge and gordon is told to follow the trains, so he follows them, and that opens up the center. immediately, and i am sorry that s earlier, iix corp meant the fifth corps. the sixth is coming up. it is his favorite corps. he likes it. he knows it. gordon is pulling off to the north to protect the trains. he opens up a path directs to sailor's creek and to the middle of the confederates, who are soon virtually surrounded. the caverly fight -- the calvary fight is progressing. the infantry moves up and hits them after the initial setback. the union troops just swarm over the confederates. lee loses a third of his army. the only one that performs well
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that day, is john brown gordon. his armyn gordon, suffers but they protect the trains as estimate can. they take a hammering but they hold together. gordon will hold his corps together till the bitter end. corps at appomattox would fire the last shots fired by the army in northern virginia. itit was not clear before, is clear now that it is over. you cannot win. he saw thousands of armies get treated so badly. and he realized that you cannot win. but lee could not bring himself to give up. he was too proud, spending his
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whole life constructing this image. my personal view, he just cannot that he is going to be beat by ulysses s. grant. remember grant from mexico, what he looks like. and grand, of course, had a reputation for being a drunk, and at least smart enough to discounted. he knew it. whatever he had done in the past, he was not a drunk now, he was performing impressively. lee had always had an army of incredibly high morale, but that started to disintegrate. the day after five forks, the morning after, lee has gotten two hours of sleep in and after that two hours of sleep, he is coming
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downstairs. a former governor, henry wise, who is now a brigadier commander, is going to barge in. that is the other thing i am going to read you. these words that general wise says you have to smooth out some victoriana. bear with me, it is a little long but it will give you a feeling of what the men in northern virginia are feeling two days before the surrender. downstairs,e leaving the beauty and the sweetness of the featherbed provided by mr. jackson, donald marshall guided him -- call no ledn l -- colonel marshall him. he doused his face, truly waking him. the warmth of the water made the world seem less cruel. shots sounded in the distance,
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their direction unclear. it did not sound significant splashed his face and beard again, worked up a lather with soap and cleanse himself. he wished he might remain on that porch to rest and savor the bracing morning air. a .umpus announced on arrival barely outpacing the visitor marshall announced brigadier , general wise, sir, and the former governor of virginia, a year older than lee himself, and a good deal storm year, barged hillthe porch with ferocious eyes, the discoloration of his cheeks and forward, giving him the look of madhouse in may. wise is a year older than lee, he walks with his troops as a brigadier general, and he has one of those big beards where his face is shaven but he has a
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rough year. wise was saying, if angry. he had saved most of his brigade after yesterday's battle, refusing to surrender when others quit. lee wondered if he should not have promoted henry wise to division command, but there had always been arguments against it. lee felt the weight of yet another error, another misjudgment. discarding ceremony, this subordinate who seemed to be made of wire charged with lightning, was in the doorway to make his declaration. "my poor men are back on yonder hill. turn around and you can see them. more dead than alive. i swear to god. fighting for a week without anything in their belly. by god sir, they shall not move another step for someone gives them something to eat. ."
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>> come in general. he said, your men deserve to eat. the rations are here and plentiful. you must share my breakfast. but the former governor chose to dine on spleen. "cowards. damn cowards. anderson as well. and you get. they all ran so fast yesterday, and johnson was the worst. he bore down on lee as if he was about to lay hands on him. what it is like to serve under such a worthless, no good, wise paused on the edge of profanity. lee know it was the truth, but he could not tolerate it. gently, he replied, general wise, are you lot -- are you aware that you are liable for court-martial? that execution is a punishment for insubordination? wise would not be deflected. >> well, the dam command officer
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should be court-martialed for running away the way that marshall did you read -- the way that johnson did. "shoot me. i wish you would serve. i say, i wish you would. save the yankees the trouble and me, the bother. ." >> lee tried another tack. general wise, let us set such issues aside. i would value your judgment of the situation. >> situation? there is no situation. it is time for spring planting. we lost. look at yesterday. what high purpose did any of those boys die for? this army is hopelessly whipped. growing downright demoralized. those men have and you would more than flesh and blood can bear and they have stuck it out for you, not for some highfalutin fairytale
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conspiracy. i say to you sir, is adequate, that to prolong this struggle is murder, and the blood of every man killed from this day forward is on your head, general lee. others had approached him to cautiously raise the prospect of surrender, but no man had dared to speak to him so directly. with annoyance, lee said, do not talk so wildly, our fear burden is enough. he gasped and searched for words. what with the country think of me, if i did what you suggest? wise back. >> country be dammed. there hasn't been a country for a year or more. you are the country to these men. they fought for you with no pay, no clothes, nor food. can --."
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you know the game is up, you know in general are at and if you stop this now, no decent man everever die -- will [indiscernible] i repeat, the blood of any man who is died henceforth is on your head alone. missr a time, lee did not one. his eyes those of a profit confronting a dollar -- idolaters. the silence endured until the arrival of troops at which lee said, i shall excuse must else. i have pressing affairs. >> that is what i am trying to do with these books, get beyond the nonsense of northern and southern propaganda and the sterilization of our history. this is about life and death, about hungry men fighting on the bitter end for the southerners. yankees dying along the way as well.
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yesterday was april 7, two days later, there will be a last desperate attempt by lee's cavalry and john gordon's corps to break out of the yankee encirclement at appomattox rid they think they might be able to open a hole and squeeze the army through. gordon, fits lee, he just takes off with his cavalry. gordon, by god, he bursts through the yankee cavalry green, pushes on until they reach the top of the ridge and there before them, are the leading brigades of two yankee ps, and at that point, it is over. now phil sheridan knows it is , over. but phil sheridan wants to attack.
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he wants to kill them. he wants to destroy the army of northern virginia. and grant would not do it. he knew it was over. he was not out for blood, does what he is rest station. he wants the country to heal together, as his surrender terms will show. messages have been crossing for days between granta and -- grant and lee. at this point the message finally catches up to grant that lee is ready to surrender. you can imagine the heartbreak. in the south, you have heard about the growing men's tears. tears.grown men they were real. the north, too, the yankees are disarmed. it is over. by god, it is over. men have many different reactions. some in the union are bitter. in sheridan's view. most don't. many of them in the south just want to go home. and of course i won't tell you , exactly what the last scene is
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in the book, but i will say it might give you a slightly different insight into appomattox. so, the new book out on with a august 29, sexier cover, "judgement at appomattox" i think all of you who followed me through the first four books and follow the war, i hope the books have given you a new perspective. given you more of a sense of what those men, great and small were really like. all, as the fourth of july approaches, we thank all those who fought for this country, including north and south. in every war. ,nd personally, i think them and i also thank you very much for coming tonight. [applause] i did it leave time for a few
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questions if anybody would like to ask them. we have a microphone. feedback takes me back to my rock 'n roll days. >> how much input did you have on the sexier cover of the book? [laughter] >> that is a story in itself. i picked all the cover art. i am a clean writer. my editor doesn't have to do a lot. but he is a wonderful man, bob gleeson, a former steelworker who put himself through college, great stories about everyone from henry miller to harold robbins. he has been added a long time that she has been at it a long time. -- he has been at it a long time. the others, hell in richmond is
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small museum in ohio, they went through all of the whistle drilled to get that done, get digital photos. the cover of the valley of shadow is harder, but they got digital photos of that as well which is in the capitol holding in montpelier, vermont. the really hard one was the dam at petersburg. i remember during my childhood, at the centennial, all these wonderful paintings in the time life books. i remember that picture of the crater. i have never seen another illustration remotely as good. i have other people helped me to track it down, and they could not do it. nobody could find it. and my editor, in the spirit of great editors passed, he took months and tracked it down through a recent sale to a private owner, and we were able to get permission. i am proud of what is in the books, i wrote them. but i am really proud, we work
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on the typeface, the design, the maps, he did the maps of gettysburg, they are wonderful maps. we agonize over positions, and he is very patient with me, be maniacalors can about maps and he is a perfectionist. so the answer is, i pick out all the art, including the art for "judgment at appomattox. ." but a lot of other people made it happen. as a writer, you do not compromise on anything you do not have to. you want a book that fueled good in the hand, you want a typeface that looks good when you open it, and is a pleasure to read. even borders, it all matters. little beads and pieces -- little bits and pieces, all of that matters. also, quality writing to write write and rewrite until it is
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the best thing you can do, and of course i love the music and the language. the other thing, of course, is historical accuracy. they are technically novels, but they are dramatized history to me. i am really ready in the tradition that we do not have in the states, a german tradition from schiller down to a , aderful german historian female, she was tough and stood up to hitler's, would not let them have any part -- would not have any part of him. she felt this dramatized history, which is what these books are, they stick closely to the fact area and i am not making up wild romances . this is what really happened. what i am trying to do, what pushes it into the dramatized history or fiction if you will, is i am trying to get in their heads. we know a lot of what people said, although the
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history tends to clean it up. you sometimes have to go back and say, how do these eats? you have to read the diaries, and letters and the memo until you have the voices. unfortunately, growing up in pennsylvania, irish had the irish and welsh voices for the various books. there was a chinese soldier, who'll did not make an appearance in gettysburg but it was a really polyglot nation. even more than today -- even more so than today with the spanish migration. . there were entire regiments that spoke german. that is a long way to answer. the answer is i claim the genius of picking out the great art, but hard-working people than me make it happen. questions.
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microphone is coming. >> the mic is coming, general hunt. >> i think it was in the dam at petersburg where you describe the confrontation between warren and hunt, and apparently warren wanted to do to petersburg what the germans did to stalingrad and hunt would have none of it? peters: well, henry hunt, evil have mood swings and warren was not a vicious guy, he was just annoying. hentry hunt is a really balanced person. i am doing research to a prequel to the cycle of books on chancellorsville. one of the problems that poker mix for himself, he had a brilliant plan, but he would not listen to henry hunt about how , how to marshal
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it and the poor ineffectively. as you know, the artillery barely gets to where it has to be for the confederate breakthrough on may 2, and is still moving on may 3 until a young man is put in charge. by hooker. in hunt of course, gettysburg is a major figure,, he is one of the unsung heroes of gettysburg mother way that he use artillery. he gets into an argument with hancock because hancock does not really understand artillery. he just understands troop morale. hancock knows what to do if the confederates, cross that field. so i say that warren had plenty of bad days and that was just one of those bad days. any other questions? made that decision at the end that you were talking about, did he make it of his own or did he have input from sheridan?
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peters: which decision? >> letting the confederates --ain their am at the end their arms at the end of appomattox? peters: grant is not a hater. the generous terms of surrender, that is purely ulysses s. grant. he is not a mean guy. we have this picture that still persists in some quarters of grant the butcher. he knew what it took to win. he cannot stand the sight of blood. his stakes have to be charred black. he did not want to see any pink in his meet. he can be cold-blooded because you look at all the casualties until grant comes, and what did they achieve? grant takes command, and he suffers significant casualties, although remember, except at grant andor, whenever lee fight, as a proportion of forces engaged, leaves casualties are heavier than the confederacy -- than the union forces. though grant and lincoln have a
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, magical report. the chap -- lee's agile teas are heavier, then the confederacy forces. so grant and lincoln have a magical report. rapport.l lincoln has finally found his general. grant is not a talker. he is a listener. he has absorbed everything lincoln has to say. lincoln loves to get out of washington with the troops. he has really internalized lincoln's instructions. later sherman gets into trouble because when joe johnston surrenders, sherman's terms are even grander in some respects, and they have to call them back and redo it. ulysses s grant, i have been reading about him, largely admiring him all of my adult life, and he is one of the people that really remains an enigma at some level. you can track all of the things he does, you say, he did this because of this experience earlier, but at some point, he is just an enigma.
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even though he wrote this articulate memoir, he is at some level still, the inarticulate ginny is who knows what to do, but cannot fully express it. less question, anybody? all anxious to go and have dinner? again, thank you all very much for coming. [applause] announcer: next sunday, join us at 17 and 11 p.m. eastern as we continue our series featuring oral history interviews with nationally recognized auto journalist. you can watch our programs anytime as c-span.org/history. you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on spend three. war, and author talks about his book "observing ancock at gettysburg."
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he argues that general hancock was on the most influential and successful corps commanders at gettysburg. credit him with several key maneuvers that make -- played a major role in the victory. it is a 40 minute discussion. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] welcome, for those of you not familiar with the gettysburg heritage center, we are an interactive museum. we valley education, community and preservation. value system, we have developed a museum in a collaborative effort with the howard county historical society, the society of adams county, and the center for civil war photography. we officially opened in may of 2015, and we tell the

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