After his great victories at Gettysburg and Union Mills, General Robert E. Lee's attempt to bring the war to a final conclusion by attacking Washington, D.C., fails. However, in securing Washington, the remnants of the valiant Union Army of the Potomac, under the command of the impetuous General Dan Sickles, is trapped and destroyed. For Lincoln there is only one hope left: that General Ulysses S. Grant can save the Union cause.
It is now August 22, 1863. Lincoln and Grant are facing a collapse of political will to continue the fight to preserve the Union. Lee, desperately short of manpower, must conserve his remaining strength while maneuvering for the killing blow that will take Grant's army out of the fight and, at last, bring a final and complete victory for the South.
Pursuing the remnants of the defeated Army of the Potomac up to the banks of the Susquehanna, Lee is caught off balance when news arrives that General Ulysses S. Grant, in command of more than seventy thousand men, has crossed that same river, a hundred miles to the northwest at Harrisburg. As General Grant brings his Army of the Susquehanna into Maryland, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia maneuvers for position. Grant first sends General George Armstrong Custer on a mad dash to block Lee's path toward Frederick and with it control of the crucial B&O railroad, which moves troops and supplies. The two armies finally collide in Central Maryland, and a bloody week-long battle ensues along the banks of Monocacy Creek. This must be the "final" battle for both sides.
In Never Call Retreat, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen bring all of their critically acclaimed talents to bear in what is destined to become an immediate classic.
Across 140 years, nearly all historians have agreed that after the defeat of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the taking of Washington, DC, would end the war. But was it possible?
Lee knows that a frontal assault against such fortifications could devastate his army, but it is a price he fears must be paid for final victory. Beyond a military victory in the field, Lee must also overcome the defiant stand of President Abraham Lincoln, who vows that regardless of the defeat at Gettysburg, his solemn pledge to preserve the Union will be honored. Lincoln will mobilize the garrison of Washington to hold on no matter what the costs.
At the same time, Lincoln has appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all Union forces. Grant, fresh from his triumph at Vicksburg, races east, bringing with him his hardened veterans from Mississippi to confront Lee.
What ensues across the next six weeks is a titanic struggle as the surviving Union forces inside the fortifications of Washington fight to hang on, while Grant prepares his counterblow. The defeated Army of the Potomac, staggered by the debacle dealt at Gettysburg, is not yet completely out of the fight, and is slowly reorganizing. Its rogue commander, General Dan Sickles, is thirsting for revenge against Lee, the restoration of the honor of his army, and the fulfillment of his own ambitions, which reach all the way to the White House. All these factors will come together in a climatic struggle spanning the ground from Washington, through Baltimore, to the banks of the Susquehanna River.
Once again, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen create a brilliant story of how the Civil War could have unfolded. In Grant Comes East, they use their years of research and expertise to take readers on an incredible journey.