Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Finest Account of the Crater Written to Date, October 25, 2010
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This review is from: Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg (Hardcover)
I bought both this book and another recent account of the Battle of the Crater from Amazon about two weeks ago. I read Hess' book first, which turned out to be somewhat of a miscalculation in that it is the better of the pair. I am now having a difficult time getting through the other account. One reason is that Hess' research is unmatched. He puts to rest a lot of misperceptions, deliberately contrived or otherwise, such as the "controversy" between Colonel Pleasants and Meade's engineer. As you read through the book, you soon get the impression that it did not matter what color the soldiers were who stormed the crater, Confederate artillery made its possession untenable. Unlike other Civil War battlefields, where counterbattery fire succeeded in neutralizing the Grey clad cannoneers, the Federal guns could not silence the well-protected Confederate batteries. I was also surprised to discover that a Confederate mortar battery played a significant role in paving the way for a successful counterattack by the defenders. Hess also points out very clearly, that while the mine explosion had a significant impact at Pegram's battery, it inflicted little damage and loss on adjacent Confederate units. In short, it was not the answer to the trench stalemate that it may have appeared to some Federal generals and some post-war historians. At this point, I do not even leaf through new Civil War books by Hess when I notice them in the store. I buy them without hesitation because I have not been disappointed by him yet. Excellent job once again by a premier historian of the Civil War. Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 16, 2011 1:47:59 PM PST
Thanks for the review. My great-great grandfather Adj. William Beynon Phillips was one of 6 officers of the 2nd. Pennsylvania Provisional Heavy Artillery to be captured at the Crater. The 2nd. PA was one of the first regiments into the Crater and first to emerge beyond the Crater as a cohisive unit. Naturally I am intensely interested when a new work on the battle is published and I will be buying this right away.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2012 5:20:39 PM PST
Sorry Gregory - I did not check my review until today! I hope you were not disappointed by this book!
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