A Stillness at Appomattox
Active 1864-1865
Engagements American Civil War
Ulysses S. Grant, George Gordon Meade, Philip Sheridan, Robert E. Lee

A Stillness at Appomattox is an American Civil War historical work written by Bruce Catton in 1953.[1] It is also known as The Army of the Potomac: A Stillness at Appomattox.[2][3] It is a history on the American Civil War that recounts the final year,[1][2] describing the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia during 1864.[2] It is the third volume of the Army of the Potomac trilogy that includes Mr. Lincoln's Army, (1951) and Glory Road (1952).[1] Catton was fifty when he began work on A Stillness at Appomattox and the trilogy.[1]

Content[edit | edit source]

A Stillness at Appomattox is a history on the American Civil War that recounts the final year.[1][2] Some of Catton's extensive work describes the Battle of the Wilderness,[4] the assault of the Mule Shoe at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House,[5] the Battle of Cold Harbor,[6] the Battle of the Crater[7] and the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse.[8]

Catton's work describes the campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia during 1864.[2] The lengthy work follows Grant's campaigns from early 1864 to the end of the war.[3] Other American Civil War generals he describes include George Gordon Meade, Philip Sheridan, and Robert E. Lee.[1][2][3]

It is the third volume of the Army of the Potomac trilogy that includes Mr. Lincoln's Army, (1951) and Glory Road (1952).[1]

Sources[edit | edit source]

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 Catton used unusual sources that included various collections of unpublished letters written by Federal soldiers, personal diaries of spouses and relatives, memoirs of soldiers and their families and official war records.[9] These are described in length as they pertain to the various chapters at the end of Catton's work.[10] Also here are many autobiographies, biographical studies and memoirs of descendents of soldiers and ranking personnel.[9] There is even a collection of letters referenced from Major General U.S. Grant III on recalling anecdotes and family recollections about his famous grandfather Ulysses S. Grant.[11]

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 published by the United States Department of War in 1902. Other major works he consulted were Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography (1888), edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, and Dictionary of American Biography (1943), edited by Dumas Malone.[11] Catton also provides a list of over 200 other works he consulted in a Bibliography for this work.[12]

Awards[edit | edit source]

  • A Stillness at Appomattox won the National Book Award in 1954 for distinguished non-fiction history literature.[1] 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. [3][13]

Bruce Catton[edit | edit source]

Bruce Catton (October 9, 1899 — August 28, 1978) was a journalist and a notable historian of the American Civil War. He won a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1954 for A Stillness at Appomattox.

Catton was known as a narrative historian 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 his only conceivable rival. Oliver Jensen, who succeeded him as editor of American Heritage 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."

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "National Book Foundation". http://www.nationalbook.org/dirletter_bcatton.html. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "A Stillness At Appomattox description". http://us.ten.ebid.net/perl/auction.cgi?auction=1180221586-28881-894&mo=auction. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "The Army of the Potomac: A Stillness at Appomattox by Catton, Bruce". http://www.biblio.com/details.php?dcx=162016626&aid=frg. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  4. Catton, op. cit., pp. 55-92
  5. Catton, op. cit., pp. 117-128
  6. Catton, op. cit., pp. 149-173
  7. Catton, op. cit., pp. 142-253
  8. Catton, op. cit., pp. 374-380
  9. 9.0 9.1 Catton, op. cit., pp. 381-382
  10. Catton, op. cit., pp. 392-438
  11. 11.0 11.1 Catton, op. cit., p. 382
  12. Catton, op. cit., p. 383-391
  13. "A Stillness at Appomattox The Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Vol 3". http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2108008.A_Stillness_at_Appomattox_The_Army_of_the_Potomac_Trilogy_Vol_3. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  14. "Pulitzer Prizes for 1954". http://www.pulitzer.org/awards/1954. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  15. "The Pulitzer Prize 1954 winners". http://www.pulitzer.org/awards/1954. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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