The Appomattox Generals

The Parallel Lives of Joshua L. Chamberlain, USA, and John B. Gordon, CSA, Commanders at the Surrender Ceremony of April 12, 1865


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About the Book

Joshua L. Chamberlain of Maine and John B. Gordon of Georgia led the Union and Confederate armies, respectively, at the formal surrender ceremony at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 12, 1865. In one of the most dramatic and memorable moments of the Civil War, as the Confederate soldiers marched through the Union lines to stack their weapons and flags, Chamberlain, moved by the historic moment and desiring to pay honor to a valiant, defeated foe, ordered his Union soldiers to salute Gordon’s Confederates. Gordon, surprised but stirred by the same emotion, immediately responded, and ordered his men to return the salute. Both men had volunteered for military service, feeling a strong need to fight for their respective causes. They entered military service as low level officers with no formal military training. Repeatedly, they exhibited exceptional aptitude and responsibility, rising through the ranks as they received the glowing accolades of their superiors. Yet, they remained humble, continually demonstrating extraordinary courage, which earned them the respect of their men. Ultimately, their heroism and leadership culminated in their meeting as the commanders at the Appomattox Courthouse surrender. After the war, Chamberlain and Gordon entered politics in their respective states.

About the Author(s)

John W. Primomo is a retired United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio.

Bibliographic Details

John W. Primomo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7632-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0581-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Honor Answering Honor 9
2. Early Years 17
3. Outbreak of the War 24
4. The Peninsula Campaign 32
5. Antietam 38
6. Fredericksburg 50
7. Chancellorsville 57
8. Gettysburg 64
9. Interlude of Winter 1863-64 89
10. The Wilderness 95
11. Spotsylvania Courthouse 103
12. North Anna to Petersburg 109
13. Monocacy River and the Shenandoah Valley 120
14. Winter 1865 to Fort Stedman 131
15. Quaker Road to Five Forks 141
16. Appomattox 154
17. Going Home 167
18. After the War 176
Afterword 195
Notes 197
Bibliography 215
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

“Primomo…fleshes out the lives and careers of these men…writing is fluid, smooth and even graceful…earns high marks”—Civil War News.