I was pleasantly surprised tonight to find Richard Sommer’s massive 1500 page Ph. D. thesis freely available online tonight from Rice University. Written in 1970 and entitled “GRANT’S FIFTH OFFENSIVE AT PETERSBURG: A STUDY IN STRATEGY, TACTICS, AND GENERALSHIP. THE BATTLE OF CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, THE BATTLE OF POPLAR SPRING CHURCH, THE FIRST BATTLE OF THE DARBYTOWN ROAD, THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE SQUIRREL LEVEL ROAD, THE SECOND BATTLE OF THE DARBYTOWN ROAD”, Sommers’ exhaustive look at the Fifth Offensive is truly an amazing resource into the Siege of Petersburg. Sommers later published a condensed version of his thesis, the oddly titled Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg. I highly encourage those of you wanting to know about the Siege of Petersburg to download the thesis above or purchase the book. Dr. Sommers is one of the foremost living authorities on the Siege of Petersburg.
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