Bill Bergen on The Siege of Petersburg

Regular listeners of our podcast or our live streaming feed might know Rick Britton. He’s a historian and cartographer and a frequent guest on WINA’s Charlottesville Right Now with Coy Barefoot. Rick also organizes a Civil War lecture and day-trip series in conjunction with the Charlottesville Senior Center.

On September 20th, 2008, one of the speakers —Bill Bergen— appeared at the Senior Center to talk about the June 1864 through March 1865 Siege of Petersburg, Virginia. This fascinating nine-month-long siege operation—which pitted Robert E. Lee’s 60,000-man Army of Northern Virginia against U.S. Grant’s force of 120,000 — featured numerous large-scale actions including the famous Battle of the Crater (on 30 July), the Assault on Ft. Stedman (on 25 March), the Battle of Five Forks (on 1 April), and the following day’s Breakthrough Attack led by Union Maj. Gen. Horatio Wright. Bill Bergen has been a student of the Civil War since learning about Abraham Lincoln in the first grade. Bill is an assistant dean at the U.Va. School of Law, and, as far as he knows, the only graduate of Vassar College to become a Civil War military historian. He has led numerous battlefield tours, lectured widely on the Civil War, and is a regular instructor at U.Va. annual Civil War conference. Author of "The Other Hero of Cedar Creek: The ‘Not Specially Ambitious’ Horation G. Wright," he is currently working on a study of the relationship of politics to generalship in the
Army of the Potomac.