July LCCWRT Meeting Notice. We welcome all guests with the hopes that they will join, so please consider bringing someone to the meeting this month.
Join us on July 8 as we explore the generalships of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee in the siege of Petersburg.
Meeting time: Tuesday, July 8, 2014; 7:30 p.m.
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia
Topic: “The Generalship of Grant and Lee in the Siege of Petersburg”
In the spring of 1864, a major confrontation began in the Eastern Theatre that would pit arguably the two best generals of the Civil War against each other in a series of engagements that would eventually result in the fall of the Confederate capital of Richmond one year later. However, the road to Union victory in the East would prove to be long and arduous for the commander of all Federal armies in the field, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. His failure to capture the capital outright at the beginning of the 1864 Overland Campaign in May of 1864 was due to the exemplary personal leadership and military skill of the South’s greatest field general, Robert E. Lee. Yet despite Lee’s many tactical successes, Grant continued to dominate the strategic initiative in the East. Dr. Richard Sommers’s presentation will analyze and evaluate the generalship of the war’s two greatest commanding generals, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, within the context of the Siege of Petersburg. He will explore the military abilities of the great Virginia leader to prolong the life of his beloved Army of Northern Virginia and to defend the beleaguered capital of the Confederacy for yet another year. Our speaker will likewise evaluate and analyze the equal effectiveness of Lee’s Federal counterpart during the great nine-month struggle for the important rail center of Petersburg and for Richmond itself. He will assess Grant’s ability to successfully bring to bear the North’s many advantages in men and materiel that eventually resulted in Confederate defeat in the East
Dr. Richard Sommers is among the Civil War’s most distinguished historians, authors, guest speakers, and lecturers. He is a native of Hammond, Indiana, and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He received his doctorate in history from Rice University in Texas. Following graduation in 1970, he accepted a position as Chief Archivist and Military Historian for the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from 1970 to 1997. After 1997, he held a number of successive distinguished academic positions at Carlisle Barracks and eventually became the H. K. Johnson Professor of Military History at Carlisle Barracks in 2007. Since 2008, he has served as Chief Senior Historian for the Army Heritage Center of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. In January 2014, he retired after more than 43 years in the Army history program. Dr. Sommers is a distinguished member of several historical organizations and societies including the Southern Historical Association, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Civil War Trust. He is currently completing his 32nd year as the program chairperson for the Harrisburg Civil War Round Table. He is a noted author of many Civil War articles, publications, and books including an award-winning History Book Club Selection in 1981 titled Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg. He is currently working on an updated and expanded sesquicentennial edition of this title with new research and analyses.