After enlisting in the elite Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment of the Army of the Potomac, Frederick Newhall (1840–1898) quickly rose to company commander and eventually to provost marshal and assistant adjutant general at Cavalry Corps headquarters. There, riding alongside Major General Philip H. Sheridan—the dynamic, inspirational bantam who led the Union cavalry to glory in 1864 and 1865—Newhall witnessed the inner workings of Union cavalry operations and many of the important events that spurred the end of the Civil War. A highly intelligent observer, he published the details of his experiences in 1866, before time could dull his memory. This new edition of Newhall's memoir, carefully edited by Eric J. Wittenberg, makes his revealing eyewitness account widely available once again.
Newhall had both Sheridan’s ear and confidence during the campaign from Petersburg to Appomattox in April 1865. He was sent by the general to convey information directly to Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade, and he was present with Sheridan during Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House. Loyal to the last, Newhall vigorously defended Sheridan’s controversial relief of Major General G. K. Warren from command of the Fifth Corps after the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865.
Wittenberg has carefully transcribed and annotated Newhall’s original text, adding maps, photographs, a preface, a biographical sketch of Newhall, an order of battle, and a selected bibliography. He also includes the text of a pamphlet that Warren printed defending himself and criticizing Sheridan, and Newhall’s response to it.
An enlightening insider’s view of Union leadership during the Civil War’s denouement, Wittenberg’s excellent edition of Newhall’s lively and descriptive commentary rescues an important and informative perspective from the vault of history.
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