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Lincoln and the War's End

Lincoln and the War's End

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John C. Waugh

$24.95

Hardcover (Other formats: E-book)
978-0-8093-3351-6
152 pages, 5 x 8, 10 illustrations
09/30/2014

Concise Lincoln Library

 

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About the Book

On the night of his reelection on November 8, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln called on the nation to “re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country.” By April 9 of the following year, the Union had achieved this goal with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. In this lively volume, John C. Waugh chronicles in detail Lincoln’s role in the final five months of the war, revealing how Lincoln and Grant worked together to bring the war to an end. 

Beginning with Lincoln’s reelection, Waugh highlights the key military and political events of those tumultuous months. He recounts the dramatic final military campaigns and battles of the war, including William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia to the sea; the Confederate army’s attempt to take Nashville and its loss at the battle of Franklin; and the Union victory at Fort Fisher that closed off the Confederacy’s last open port. Other events also receive attention, including Sherman’s march through the Carolinas and the burning of Columbia; Grant’s defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Five Forks, and Lincoln’s presence at the seat of war during that campaign; the Confederate retreat from Petersburg and Richmond; and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

Weaving the stories together chronologically, Waugh also presents the key political events of the time, particularly Lincoln’s final annual message to Congress, passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the Second Inaugural, Lincoln’s visit to Richmond the day after it fell, and Lincoln’s final days and speeches in Washington after the Confederate surrender. An epilogue recounts the farewell march of all the Union armies through Washington, D.C., in May 1865. Throughout, Waugh enlivens his narrative with illuminating quotes from a wide variety of Civil War participants and personalities, including New Yorker George Templeton Strong, southerner Mary Boykin Chesnut, Lincoln’s secretary John Hay, writer Noah Brooks, and many others.

Authors/Editors

John C. Waugh, a reporter at the Christian Science Monitor for many years, is the coeditor of How Historians Work, and the author of eleven other books on the Civil War era, including The Class of 1846, Reelecting Lincoln, and Lincoln and McClellan.

Reviews

“In a vivid recounting of the critical five months between Lincoln’s reelection in November of 1864 and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April of 1865, John C. Waugh combines a thoughtful analysis of political activities with a vibrant, fast-paced narrative of the military campaigns to illuminate the almost breathtaking denouement of the Civil War.”—Craig L. Symonds, author of Lincoln and his Admirals

“Bravo to master storyteller John Waugh for this fast-paced and enthralling account of the Civil War’s decisive final weeks! A lifetime of research and writing on this endlessly compelling topic is evident in his presentations of the crucial players and decisive battles. His smoothly conversational narrative, and talent for seasoning it with personality studies, eye-catching quotations, and even weather reports, sent me from cover to cover in just one intensely focused sitting.”—Richard A. Baker, coauthor of The American Senate: An Insider’s History

“In the hand of a master historian and storyteller, even a timeless tale can be enlivened and made to sing. The ending is of course unchanged, but with beautiful prose resting on a firm foundation of essential research and his unimpeachable expertise, Waugh educates and entertains.”—Lynda Crist, editor of The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Rice University

“What John Waugh does as well as almost anyone in the Civil War history business is to build smart narratives around compelling quotations. Like the good reporter he used to be, Waugh collects and evaluates striking reactions from his sources and then weaves them together with deft prose. The result for a short book about the end of the Civil War is pure joy for anybody who wants to immerse themselves in a Lincoln-sided view of that critical period. Give yourself a long plane ride or a quiet weekend at home, and this little volume offers an antidote to some of the anxieties of the modern age. . . . With his effort here, Waugh has created a small gem, one that is easily admired and hard to imitate. Brevity is a virtue, sometimes the most important one for the harried, book-reading public. This latest contribution to the Concise Lincoln Library certainly proves that point, perhaps as well as any in that fine series.” –Matthew Pinsker, Journal of Illinois History