Date of Award

Fall 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Harold Wilson

Committee Member

Peter Stewart

Committee Member

Stanley Pliska

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47C63


In April 1863, the Federal garrison at Suffolk, Virginia, commanded by Major General John J. Peck, was attacked by 20,000 Confederates under Lieutenant General James Longstreet. For 22 days, Longstreet's rebels kept Peck's Federals bottled up inside Suffolk while Confederate commissary troops emptied the surrounding countryside of precious food. and forage. Peck's 25,000 Federals, most of whom had seen little previous action, and the U. S. Navy gunboats sent to protect their river flank, managed to embarrass Longstreet's veterans and prevent the garrison from being captured. Nevertheless, the Siege of Suffolk was a Confederate success. Thousands of Yankee soldiers were prevented from reinforcing Hooker's Army of the Potomac, which attacked Lee's Army of Northern Virginia on the Rappahannock River at the beginning of May. Longstreet himself was unable to reach Lee in time to battle Hooker at Chancellorsville, but the food and forage gathered around Suffolk allowed Lee's army to accumulate a reserve for an offensive beyond. the Potomac the following summer.


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