“Godfrey Weitzel’s professional growth from a fortification engineer to successful corps commander and his significant relationships with Generals Benjamin Butler and Ulysses S. Grant, Admiral David Farragut, and President Abraham Lincoln, all add interest to the story of the youngest corps commander in the Civil War.”
Joseph C. Fitzharris, editor of Patton’s Fighting Bridge Builders: Company B, 1303rd Engineer General Service Regiment
“G. William Quatman has written a superbly detailed study of [Weitzel’s] life and Civil War service. The book is deeply researched, well illustrated with maps, and provides an interesting and compelling story of Weitzel’s life and services.”
Blue and Gray, Vol. 32, No. 1
“…In his sympathetic account, Quatman has admirably accomplished his principal mission – to let the lighthouse lamp linger on a man obscured by history’s mists for far too long.”
The Plain Dealer
Despite his military achievements and his association with many of the great names of American history, Godfrey Weitzel (1835–1884) is perhaps the least known of all the Union generals. After graduating from West Point, Weitzel, a German immigrant from Cincinnati, was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. The secession of Louisiana in 1861, with its key port city of New Orleans, was the first of a long and unlikely series of events that propelled the young Weitzel to the center of many of the Civil War’s key battles and brought him into the orbit of such well-known personages as Lee, Beauregard, Butler, Farragut, Porter, Grant, and Lincoln. Weitzel quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to brigadier general and, eventually to commander of Twenty-Fifth Corps, the Union Army’s only all-black unit. After fighting in numerous campaigns in Louisiana and Virginia, on April 3, 1865, Weitzel marched his troops into Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, capturing the city for the Union and precipitating the eventual collapse of the Southern states’ rebellion.
G. William Quatman’s minute-by-minute narrative of the fall of Richmond lends new insight into the war’s end, and his keen research into archival sources adds depth and nuance to the events and the personalities that shaped the course of the Civil War.
G. William Quatman is an architect and attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, and the author of several books and articles on the legal aspects of design and construction. This is his first historical biography. More info →
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The wrenching events of the Civil War transformed not only the United States but also the men unexpectedly called on to lead their fellow citizens in this first modern example of total war. Jacob Dolson Cox, a former divinity student with no formal military training, was among those who rose to the challenge. In a conflict in which “political generals” often proved less than competent, Cox, the consummate citizen general, emerged as one of the best commanders in the Union army.
In 1863, as the Civil War raged, the escaped slave, abolitionist, and novelist William Wells Brown identified two groups most harmful to his race. “The first and most relentless,” he explained, “are those who have done them the greatest injury, by being instrumental in their enslavement and consequent degradation.
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