The winter of '64-'65 was severe. Very little fighting was done between November and March. The poorly clad, undernourished Southern soldiers cut down pine boughs and constructed crude winter shelters in the lines. A Richmond publisher printed a translation of Hugo's Les Miserables, which circulated amongst the Southern soldiers in the Petersburg defenses. They read the novel with interest, sympathizing with wretches whose suffering rivaled their own. They were struck by the French title. Adding an 'E' and an apostrophe, they dubbed themselves Lee's Miserables. Set during the Siege of Petersburg, in the waning days of the American Civil War, lee's miserables follows a group of soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia. As they are holed up in the trenches, Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables begins to take center stage in their lives.