A Stillness at Appomattox

A Stillness at Appomattox

Overview
A Stillness at Appomattox is an award-winning, non-fiction book written by Bruce Catton
Bruce Catton
Charles Bruce Catton was an American historian and journalist, best known for his books on the American Civil War. Known as a narrative historian, Catton specialized in popular histories that emphasized colorful characters and historical vignettes, in addition to the basic facts, dates, and analyses...

 in 1953. It recounts the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

's final year, describing the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 in Virginia during 1864 to the end of the war in 1865. It is the final volume of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 trilogy that includes Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951) and Glory Road (1952).

A Stillness at Appomattox is a history on the American Civil War that recounts the final year.
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Encyclopedia
A Stillness at Appomattox is an award-winning, non-fiction book written by Bruce Catton
Bruce Catton
Charles Bruce Catton was an American historian and journalist, best known for his books on the American Civil War. Known as a narrative historian, Catton specialized in popular histories that emphasized colorful characters and historical vignettes, in addition to the basic facts, dates, and analyses...

 in 1953. It recounts the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

's final year, describing the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 in Virginia during 1864 to the end of the war in 1865. It is the final volume of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 trilogy that includes Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951) and Glory Road (1952).

Content


A Stillness at Appomattox is a history on the American Civil War that recounts the final year. Some of Catton's extensive work describes the Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by...

, the assault of the Mule Shoe at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania , was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the bloody but inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's army disengaged...

, the Battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

, the Battle of the Crater
Battle of the Crater
The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade The...

 and the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse
Battle of Appomattox Courthouse
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, was the final engagement of Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and one of the last battles of the American...

.

Catton's work describes the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 in Virginia during 1864. The lengthy work follows Grant's campaigns from early 1864 to the end of the war. Other American Civil War generals he describes include George Gordon Meade, Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S...

, and Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

.

It is the third volume of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 trilogy that includes Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951) and Glory Road (1952).

Sources


His notes at the end of the book show an insight where he obtained considerable information during the research for this work. Catton used unusual sources that included various collections of unpublished letters written by Federal soldiers, personal diaries
Diary
A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

 of spouses and relatives, memoirs of soldiers and their families and official war records. These are described in length as they pertain to the various chapters at the end of Catton's work. Also here are many autobiographies, biographical studies and memoirs of descendents of soldiers and ranking personnel. There is even a collection of letters referenced from Major General U.S. Grant III
Ulysses S. Grant III
Ulysses Simpson Grant III was the son of Frederick Dent Grant, and the grandson of General of the Army and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. He was an American soldier and planner...

 on recalling anecdotes and family recollections about his famous grandfather Ulysses S. Grant.

Catton points out that chief reliance for his work was placed on War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Official Records of the American Civil War
The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion or often more simply the Official Records or ORs, constitute the most extensive collection of primary sources of the history of the American Civil War. Cornell University lists the official title as, "The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the...

published by the United States Department of War
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 in 1902. Other major works he consulted were Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography is a six-volume collection of biographies of famous Americans. It was published between 1887 and 1889 by D. Appleton and Company, New York. The general editors were James Grant Wilson and John Fiske; the managing editor from 1886 to 1888 was Rossiter...

(1888), edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, and Dictionary of American Biography
Dictionary of American Biography
The Dictionary of American Biography was published in New York City by Charles Scribner's Sons under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. The first edition was published in 20 volumes from 1928 to 1936. These 20 volumes contained 15,000 biographies...

(1943), edited by Dumas Malone. Catton also provides a list of over 200 other works he consulted in a Bibliography for this work.

Awards

  • A Stillness at Appomattox won the National Book Award
    National Book Award
    The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

     in 1954 for distinguished non-fiction history literature. The citation of the award reads:
Mr. Catton has combined historical accuracy with poetic insight to present the story of the Army of the Potomac in the final year of the Civil War. Writing from the point of view of the citizens who found themselves soldiers he has reaffirmed the great American tradition of a peace-loving people who, faced with necessity, can also produce greatness in war.

  • A Stillness at Appomattox won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize
    1954 Pulitzer Prize
    -Journalism awards:*Public Service:**Newsday, Garden City, N.Y. for its expose of New York State's race track scandals and labor racketeering, which led to the extortion indictment, guilty plea and imprisonment of William C...

     in history.

Bruce Catton



Bruce Catton (1899 — 1978) was a journalist and a notable historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Catton was known as a narrative historian
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

 who specialized in popular histories that emphasized the colorful characters and vignettes of history, in addition to the simple dates, facts, and analyses. His works, although well-researched, were generally not presented in a rigorous academic style, supported by footnotes. In the long line of Civil War historians, Catton is arguably the most prolific and popular of all, with Shelby Foote
Shelby Foote
Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war. With geographic and cultural roots in the Mississippi Delta, Foote's life and writing paralleled the radical shift from the agrarian planter system of the...

 his only conceivable rival. Oliver Jensen, who succeeded him as editor of American Heritage
American Heritage (magazine)
American Heritage is a quarterly magazine dedicated to covering the history of the United States for a mainstream readership. Until 2007, the magazine was published by Forbes. Since that time, Edwin S...

magazine, wrote: "There is a near-magic power of imagination in Catton's work that seemed to project him physically into the battlefields, along the dusty roads and to the campfires of another age."