Date of Award

Fall 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Harold Wilson

Committee Member

Craig Cameron

Committee Member

Lorraine Lees

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 R44


William Mahone exemplified the audacity and adaptability acquired by southern commanders during the last year of the American Civil War. Mahone's contribution to Confederate military operations during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, from 1864-1865 played an important role in the Confederacy's survival. During the siege, he was one of Lee's most trusted and capable lieutenants. The findings of this study show that Mahone's emergence as a superior divisional commander came about mainly because of his knowledge of the terrain surrounding Petersburg.

This thesis discusses the way Mahone extended the life of the Confederacy. Four of Mahone's engagements during the siege will be examined; additionally, I will explain how his knowledge and ability influenced Confederate successes during those engagements. Also discussed is Mahone's place in the evolution of siege warfare and his contributions in the development of a limited offensive strategy. The primary sources used for this project include Mahone's personal letters concerning his actions and the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.


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