A Campaign of Giants: The Battle for Petersburg Part 1

September 25-28, 2019

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

Battle of Petersburg Crater
The Confederate line as reconstructed at the crater. From a drawing made by Lieutenant Henderson after the battle
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War [c. 1887]
From early May 1864, the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had brutalized each other over a landscape of some 75 miles. Now as Grant slips across the James River, the final acts were being lined up. Historian Wil Greene has completed his first volume of a multi-volume treatment of the siege of Petersburg by this same name, and this is his first group tour of the topic. This program convers what are now commonly referred to as the First, Second, and Third Offensives–the first being the days immediately following the crossing and attacks against P.G.T. Beauregard’s small force of clerks, invalids, and militia interspersed with a few regular infantry. The second will focus primarily on the Wilson-Kautz Raid, with a spotlight on a few of the small engagements associated with it. The final portion of the program will focus on actions east of Richmond at Deep Bottom and the dramatic but tragic effort at the Crater. This two- or three-tour series will grant the time and respect due to this often overlooked campaign. Wil is superb on a battlefield, and you will really enjoy this program.



A. Wilson (Wil) Greene is one of the giants in the preservation movement and a first-rate public historian. He earned his stripes studying under T. Harry Williams at LSU and served a career as a historian for the National Park Service. He was a founding member of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and masterminded that organization’s early successes. Wil was hired to build Pamplin Historical Park–a $25M+ project where he served as its first Executive Director and CEO until his retirement in 2017. Wil now lives in Tennessee, where he has a large backlog of books he plans to write, of which A Campaign of Giants is the first installment. Wil is a popular tour leader and has led tours for Pamplin Park, the Civil War Society, and the Smithsonian Associates. A pied piper for battlefield preservation, Wil will be performing his first tour of his new book for the public with the BGES.