Siege of Petersburg

The Richmond–Petersburg campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, fought from June 15, 1864, to April 2, 1865, during the American Civil War. Although it is more popularly known as the siege of Petersburg, it was not a classic military siege, in which a city is surrounded and all supply lines are cut off, nor was it limited to actions against Petersburg; the campaign consisted of nine months of trench warfare in which Union forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assaulted Petersburg unsuccessfully and constructed trench lines that extended over 30 miles from the eastern outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, to around the eastern and southern outskirts of Petersburg. Petersburg was crucial to the supply of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's army and the Confederate capital of Richmond. Numerous raids were conducted and battles fought in attempts to cut off the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad. Many of these battles caused the lengthening of the trench lines. Lee gave in to the pressure and abandoned both cities in April 1865, leading to his retreat and surrender at Appomattox Court House.

The Siege of Petersburg foreshadowed the trench warfare, common in World War I, earning it a prominent position in military history. It featured the war's largest concentration of African-American troops, who suffered heavy casualties at such engagements as the Battle of the Crater and Chaffin's Farm. In March 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and was given command of the Union Army, he devised a coordinated strategy to apply pressure on the Confederacy from many points, something President Abraham Lincoln had urged his generals to do from the beginning of the war. Grant put Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in immediate command of all forces in the West and moved his own headquarters to be with the Army of the Potomac in Virginia, where he intended to maneuver Lee's army to a decisive battle, his coordinated strategy called for Grant and Meade to attack Lee from the north, while Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler drove toward Richmond from the southeast. Gens. George Crook and William W. Averell to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia.

Banks to capture Alabama. Most of these initiatives failed because of the assignment of generals to Grant for political rather than military reasons. Butler's Army of the James bogged down against inferior forces under Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard before Richmond in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. Sigel was soundly defeated at the Battle of New Market in May and soon afterward he was replaced by Maj. Gen. David Hunter. Banks was failed to move on Mobile; however and Averell were able to cut the last railway linking Virginia and Tennessee, Sherman's Atlanta Campaign was a success, although it dragged on through the fall. On May 4, Grant and Meade's Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River and entered the area known as the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, beginning the six-week Overland Campaign. At the bloody but tactically inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness and Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Grant failed to destroy Lee's army but, unlike his predecessors, did not retreat after the battles. Grant spent the remainder of May maneuvering and fighting minor battles with the Confederate army as he attempted to turn Lee's flank and lure him into the open.

Grant knew that his larger army and base of manpower in the North could sustain a war of attrition better than Lee and the Confederacy could. This theory was tested at the Battle of Cold Harbor when Grant's army once again came into contact with Lee's near Mechanicsville, he chose to engage Lee's army directly, by ordering a frontal assault on the Confederate fortified positions on June 3. This attack was repulsed with heavy losses. Cold Harbor was a battle that Grant regretted more than any other and Northern newspapers thereafter referred to him as a "butcher". Although Grant suffered high losses during the campaign—approximately 50,000 casualties, or 41%—Lee lost higher percentages of his men—approximately 32,000, or 46%—losses that could not be replaced. On the night of June 12, Grant again advanced by his left flank, he planned to cross to the south bank of the river, bypassing Richmond, isolate Richmond by seizing the railroad junction of Petersburg to the south. While Lee remained unaware of Grant's intentions, the Union army constructed a pontoon bridge 2,100 feet long and crossed the James River on June 14–18.

What Lee had feared most of all—that Grant would force him into a siege of Richmond—was poised to occur. Petersburg, a prosperous city of 18,000, was a supply center for Richmond, given its strategic location just south of Richmond, its site on the Appomattox River that provided navigable access to the James River, its role as a major crossroads and junction for five railroads. Since Petersburg was the main supply base and rail depot for the entire region, including Richmond, the taking of Petersburg by Union forces would make it impossible for Lee to continue defending Richmond; this represented a change of strategy from that of the preceding Overland Campaign, in which confronting and defeating Lee's

Best Value

Best Value was government policy in the United Kingdom affecting the provision of public services in England and Wales. In Wales, Best Value is known as the Wales Programme for Improvement; the predecessor to the UK Labour Government's Best Value policy was the Conservative Government's 1980s policy of Compulsory Competitive Tendering. This required public-sector organisations to enable private companies to bid for contracts to deliver public services in competition with the public sector's own organisations; the idea was to improve services through competition. CCT requirements were relaxed upon the election of the Labour government in 1997, but similar concepts were soon promoted by the Labour government through its'Best Value' policy. Best Value was introduced in England and Wales by the Local Government Act 1999, introduced by the UK Labour Government, its provisions came into force in April 2000. The aim was to improve local services in terms of both cost and quality: A Best Value authority must make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy and effectiveness.

The range of activities affected includes all local authority functions, including for example social services, environmental health and planning. The first details of Best Value were set out in the ’Twelve Principles of Best Value’ announced in June 1997; the bill to provide the statutory framework was introduced in the 1998/9 parliamentary session. In the period between announcement and introduction the Government sponsored 37 voluntary council ‘pilots’, 22 of which contained a housing element; the purpose of the pilots was to “test elements of the best value framework, assess the extent to which actual improvements in service quality and efficiency have flowed from the new approach”. The rationale for the introduction of Best Value was summarised as follows: Under Compulsory Competitive Tendering service quality has been neglected and efficiency gains have been uneven and uncertain, it has proved inflexible in practice. There have been significant costs for employees leading to high staff turnover and the demoralisation of those expected to provide quality services.

Compulsion has bred antagonism, so that neither local authorities nor private sector suppliers have been able to realise the benefits that flow from a healthy partnership. All too the process of competition has become an end in itself, distracting attention from the services that are provided to local people. CCT will therefore be abolished. Thus, the rationale for Best Value emphasised three points: the failure of Compulsory Competitive Tendering. Under the leadership of John Major the Conservative government pursued Compulsory Competitive Tendering as a dogma against the wishes of local government; this led to an uncomfortable stand-off between the two, with CCT regulations being produced in increasing detail, sometimes extending further than would have been the case in the private sector. The government was unambiguous about what was required – issue of tender, receipt of tender, selection of provider; the term compulsory competitive tendering was superseded in 2000 by best value. Labour’s Best Value proved more difficult to define.

The notion of Best Value prior to implementation was enshrined within one key consultation document: Modernising Local Government — Improving local services through best value. This set out four defining elements of Best Value; the first was the duty to secure economic and effective services continuously. The second required service reviews within which the authority must demonstrate that in the fulfilment of their duties under Best Value they have: compared their service provision with that of other private and public providers; the third defining element introduced a regime of audit and measurement of performance, with the broad expectation that, year-on-year, costs would reduce and quality would increase. Performance would be monitored locally through Best Value Performance Reviews through adherence to locally and statutorily determined Best Value performance indicators, disseminated annually through Performance Plans; the fourth defining element of Best Value outlined the consequence of performance: Government intervention in cases of Best Value failure, reward in cases of success.

In turn these four aspects of Best Value are bound by adherence to twelve principles of Best Value mentioned above. The answer to the question of what method of service delivery the Government expected to arise from Best Value seemed to centre on local interpretation as satisfactory; the lack of clear definition, in the context of housing services, was explained as follows: The paper does not attempt to define what best value in housing is —, a matter for individual local authorities in consultation with local people. The primary intention is to explain the process framework within which local housing authorities will need to operate in obtaining best value in housing. Therefore, while the message was unequivocally that Compulsory Competitive Tendering was to be withdrawn, the replacement was to be less prescribed, with the intention that local authorities follow a responsive and locally determined method of service provision within a

Longmire Buildings

The Longmire Buildings in Mount Rainier National Park comprise the park's former administrative headquarters, are among the most prominent examples of the National Park Service Rustic style in the national park system. They comprise the Longmire Community Building of 1927, the Administration Building of 1928, the Longmire Service Station of 1929. Together, these structures were designated National Historic Landmarks on May 28, 1987; the administration and community buildings were designed by National Park Service staff under the direction of Thomas Chalmers Vint. The Longmire Administration Building is the largest and most architecturally significant of the three structures; the two-story building features heavy boulder rubble construction to the sill line of its second floor windows, with log-frame construction above. The building is entered through a front porch constructed of unusually heavy peeled logs; as the park's administrative headquarters it housed the offices of the park superintendent and engineering support activities.

After the construction of a new headquarters just outside the park's boundaries under the Mission 66 program, the Administration Building became a visitor contact point and maintenance headquarters. Behind the entry porch, a pair of doors give access to a reception room furnished with a stone fireplace. A conference room and offices are housed on the upper level, with the basement contains mechanical equipment and a jail cell; the exterior corners of the building are buttressed with stone pilasters at the corners. Log planks sheathe the upper level above the sill; the Community Building was the first to be set the tone for the area. The T-Shaped frame building houses a large community room measuring about 60 feet by 30 feet, with a subsidiary wing housing toilets and staff quarters. A deep porch occupies one bay in front of the community room. Exterior walls are finished with log-slab veneer; the community room's interior features exposed scissor-truss log roof framing, with a large stone fireplace at one end.

The masonry of the fireplace is distinctive, with squared stone in the lower portion giving way to round glacial boulders. The other end of the room houses a small stage in a bay projecting from the end of the building. Original furnishings include light fixtures and log tables resembling those at the Paradise Inn; the living quarters retain little of their historic fabric. The interiors of the housing wing were excluded from the National Historic Landmark nomination; the lower level is used with two apartments on the upper level. The 1929 Service Station provided gasoline and basic services to park visitors; the front half of the building is a drive-through covered bay with supports on the gas island, with an office in the other half behind, the whole crowned by a steeply-pitched attic. Stone-faced concrete extends from grade level to sill level; the frame wall above is clad with log slab siding. A small apartment is housed in the attic, accessible by an exterior stairway; the Longmire Buildings form a part of the Longmire Historic District, itself within the Mount Rainier National Park National Historic Landmark District, comprising the entire park.

The Administration Building and Service Station are close together near the road, while the Community Building is across the Nisqually River. The construction of all three was supervised by Ernest A. Davidson, a Park Service landscape architect assigned to Mount Rainier. Vint chose to feature the Community Building and the Administration Building in his 1938 Park and Recreation Structures publications, an influential series of three volumes devoted to rustic park structures that influenced state and national park design through the 1930s; the Service Station stands as an unique example of rustic architecture for that building type. National Register of Historic Places listings in Pierce County, Washington List of National Historic Landmarks in Washington