Civil War Book Preview: The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864 by John Horn

SiegeOfPetersburgWeldonRRBattlesHorn2015Shipping from the printer this week is the second edition of John Horn’s H. E. Howard book on the Battle of Globe Tavern and Grant’s Fourth Offensive during the Siege of Petersburg.  The second edition is entitled The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864, and contains, according to the author “expanded text, 9 new maps (making a total of 22), 4 new tables, and a broader perspective on the campaign’s place in the history of warfare.”  I don’t yet have my copy, but Ed Bearss calls this new second edition “A superior piece of Civil War scholarship.”  Combine the fine writing of John Horn, Savas Beatie’s penchant for maps, maps, and more maps, and the ever increasing cost of the H. E. Howard series of book on Virginia’s battles and leaders, and this book makes more sense to buy than the original.  The book is available for pre-order at Amazon, an should be fully available very, very soon.  Check out the following information from Savas Beatie’s web site, and also check out my dedicated bibliography page for the book at The Siege of Petersburg Online:

The nine-month siege of Petersburg was the longest continuous operation of the American Civil War. A series of large-scale Union “offensives,” grand maneuvers that triggered some of the fiercest battles of the war, broke the monotony of static trench warfare. Grant’s Fourth Offensive, August 14-25, the longest and bloodiest operation of the campaign, is the subject of John Horn’s revised and updated Sesquicentennial edition of The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864.

Frustrated by his inability to break through the Southern front, General Grant devised a two-punch combination strategy in an effort to sever the crucial Weldon Railroad and stretch General Lee’s lines. The plan called for Winfield Hancock’s II Corps (with X Corps) to move against Deep Bottom north of the James River to occupy Confederate attention while Warren’s V Corps, supported by elements of IX Corps, marched south and west below Petersburg toward Globe Tavern on the Weldon Railroad. The move triggered the battles of Second Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Second Reams Station, bitter fighting that witnessed fierce Confederate counterattacks and additional Union operations against the railroad before Grant’s troops dug in and secured their hold on Globe Tavern. The end result was nearly 15,000 killed, wounded, and missing, the severing of the railroad, and the jump-off point for what would be Grant’s Fifth Offensive in late September.

Revised and updated for this special edition, Horn’s outstanding tactical battle study emphasizes the context and consequences of every action and is supported by numerous maps and grounded in hundreds of primary sources. Unlike many battle accounts, Horn puts Grant’s Fourth Offensive into its proper perspective not only in the context of the Petersburg Campaign and the war, but in the context of the history of warfare.


3 responses to “Civil War Book Preview: The Siege of Petersburg: The Battles for the Weldon Railroad, August 1864 by John Horn”

  1. Ted Savas Avatar

    Hi Brett

    Thanks for this information for your readers. We are very excited about this book and all those in our Petersburg collection.

    I just wanted to note that for everyone who wants to support independent Civil War publishing even more directly, you can purchase a copy on our website at, and the specific link is

    We offer signed copies (100 only) and thereafter the books ship with a signed author book plate.

    Thanks a lot.


  2. James F. Epperson Avatar

    A couple of comments:

    I have the HE Howard version, which I found both valuable and irritating in preparing my website entry on this set of actions ( I thought Horn made a couple of serious errors in the book (like suggesting that Lee was not in the process of sending reinforcements to Early, when he in fact was.) I may spring for this as a result.

    I am almost done w/ my review of Patchan’s book on Third Winchester, which will appear here once I get my antiquated mind wrapped around the process of creating a post. I’ll want to wait a few days so this post of Brett’s gets a fair amount of time up front. Ted, if you could tell Mr. Patchan to watch this space, I think he’ll like the result.

  3. Theo Savas Avatar

    Thanks Jim.

    I will do that. Not sure if Horn altered the issue about troops to Early, but one heck of a book IMO.

    Thanks for your support.


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