Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Siege of Washington, a Great Civil War Book

This book covers the opening 12 days, April 14, 1861-April 25, 1861, of the of the Civil War. When, essential, Washington, DC was behind enemy lines. Virginia leaves the Union on April 17. The loyalty of Maryland is questionable. Thus Washington is surrounded.

The book covers those 12 days and what happens in Washington. The steps Lincoln and his administration take to try and get loyal troops into the city. This is complicated by riots that break out in Baltimore when the Sixth Massachusetts tries to pass through the city to get to Washington.

This is a really great book. It covers a time frame that is rarely if ever written about. If the South had tried to take Washington, it would have been very likely that would have been able to do so. Thus completely changing the course of the war.

This classifies as a page turner. Even though you know how things turn out, it is amazing to see just how undefended Washington was. And how difficult it was to get Union troops into the city to protect it.

Also, as someone who lives in Washington, its interesting to read about where everything was located in DC and know what is there today. There is also a great picture of a map of Washington which shows just how much of the city was open fields rather than built up.

The book quotes extensively from personal journals of the major participants in this on going drama. Of note are Lincoln's two secretaries John Nicolay and John Hay.

I highly recommend this book.

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