Book Review The Red River Campaign and Its Toll

bdtex

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The Red River Campaign and Its Toll~69 Bloody Days in Louisiana, March-May 1864

Author: Henry O. Robertson
Published in 2016 by McFarland & Company,Inc. in Jefferson,North Carolina
209 pages including notes, bibliography and index
Paperback,$29.95 on Amazon
ISBN 978-1-4766-6378-4

The author is an Associate Professor of History at Louisiana College and a resident of Alexandria, Louisiana,on the Red River. I believe this is his first published book. He was a speaker at the Annual Jefferson Civil War Symposium,in Jefferson,Texas last August. I purchased the book from him for $25,I believe.

The book is comprised of 10 chapters and is basically a starter book on the Red River Campaign. The book is not limited to the military aspect and history of the campaign. It begins with the prewar settlement and economic development of the Red River Valley and the politics of secession within the Louisiana parishes and adjoining parishes along the Red River. It describes the sacrifices made in early war Louisiana along the river. Goods produced there and troops raised there were shipped to other parts of the Confederacy and life was difficult for the pro-Union citizens. Chapters 5-10 cover the military operations of the Red River Campaign from its beginning to the burning of Alexandria. Of particular interest to this reader was the material presented on the second phase of the Battle of Mansfield at Chapman's Bayou. The author went into much more detail about that military clash than any other Red River Campaign book that I have read.

The other thing of special note is the author's description of what was basically "hard war" upon civilians and merchants along the Red River. The author notes that the character of the war had changed in 1864 and provided many examples along the Red River. Most of the countryside was marched and fought over by Union forces burning structures and goods along the way and Confederate forces foraging for food for themselves and feed for their animals. Confederates were ultimately victors in the Red River Campaign but the civilian population paid a heavy price.
 

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Drew

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The author notes that the character of the war had changed in 1864 and provided many examples along the Red River. Most of the countryside was marched and fought over by Union forces burning structures and goods along the way and Confederate forces foraging for food for themselves and feed for their animals. Confederates were ultimately victors in the Red River Campaign but the civilian population paid a heavy price.
Ain't it the truth? I'll put this one on my list. Thanks for posting.
 

bdtex

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Ain't it the truth? I'll put this one on my list. Thanks for posting.
I didn't mention that Union troops burned and destroyed what they couldn't take with them and Confederates hid cotton in places away from the river and burned thousands of bales of cotton to keep them from falling into Union hands. That is covered in the book too.
 

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Question-does the author provide a good bibliography for this book? My unit fought in this campaign and I'm trying to gather info for my library on this mess. Thanks.
The Bibliography is 11 of the 209 pages in the book and is arranged into 4 separate categories of sources:
1. Libraries and Archives
2. Newspapers
3. Regimental Histories
4. Books, Articles and Websites
 

Drew

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Question-does the author provide a good bibliography for this book? My unit fought in this campaign and I'm trying to gather info for my library on this mess. Thanks.
I can't answer your question because I haven't seen the book yet, but I will offer one of my favorite primary sources on the Mess. William Titus Rigby was a line officer in the 24th Iowa, part of Banks' Expeditionary Force.

He kept a diary and wrote home prolifically. Rigby would eventually become the first Superintendent of Vicksburg National Military Park.

His family saved his war writings and his descendants donated all of the material to the University of Iowa. He was smart, earnest and even funny, despite himself. The bad news is his penmanship was terrible. Some of his stuff has been transcribed but readers will have to struggle with the originals.

Anyone wants to gander can start here.
 

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Thanks! Now to start putting the pennies away to get this one.
One for $28.04 at Abebooks.com is the cheapest one I could find online. Pretty sure I paid $25 for mine from the author at the Jefferson Civil War Symposium.
 

Drew

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One for $28.04 at Abebooks.com is the cheapest one I could find online. Pretty sure I paid $25 for mine from the author at the Jefferson Civil War Symposium.
Rats, I paid a dollar more at "that other" online book place. :whistling:

Looking forward to it for sure though!
 

bdtex

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Rats, I paid a dollar more at "that other" online book place. :whistling:

Looking forward to it for sure though!
Always check Abebooks before you order. Gotta heckuva deal on a book from them last year.
 

J. D. Stevens

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My unit fought in this campaign and I'm trying to gather info for my library
If the 5th Minn is your unit, they were part of Gen A. J. Smith's 16th Corp, 1st Division, 2nd Brigade commanded by Col. Hubbard. They did not participate in the Battle of Mansfield, but were present at the Battle of Pleasant Hill the next day, April 9, 1864.
 

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If the 5th Minn is your unit, they were part of Gen A. J. Smith's 16th Corp, 1st Division, 2nd Brigade commanded by Col. Hubbard. They did not participate in the Battle of Mansfield, but were present at the Battle of Pleasant Hill the next day, April 9, 1864.
Got any bookstore signings in Dallas?
 

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View attachment 173670



The Red River Campaign and Its Toll~69 Bloody Days in Louisiana, March-May 1864

Author: Henry O. Robertson
Published in 2016 by McFarland & Company,Inc. in Jefferson,North Carolina
209 pages including notes, bibliography and index
Paperback,$29.95 on Amazon
ISBN 978-1-4766-6378-4

The author is an Associate Professor of History at Louisiana College and a resident of Alexandria, Louisiana,on the Red River. I believe this is his first published book. He was a speaker at the Annual Jefferson Civil War Symposium,in Jefferson,Texas last August. I purchased the book from him for $25,I believe.

The book is comprised of 10 chapters and is basically a starter book on the Red River Campaign. The book is not limited to the military aspect and history of the campaign. It begins with the prewar settlement and economic development of the Red River Valley and the politics of secession within the Louisiana parishes and adjoining parishes along the Red River. It describes the sacrifices made in early war Louisiana along the river. Goods produced there and troops raised there were shipped to other parts of the Confederacy and life was difficult for the pro-Union citizens. Chapters 5-10 cover the military operations of the Red River Campaign from its beginning to the burning of Alexandria. Of particular interest to this reader was the material presented on the second phase of the Battle of Mansfield at Chapman's Bayou. The author went into much more detail about that military clash than any other Red River Campaign book that I have read.

The other thing of special note is the author's description of what was basically "hard war" upon civilians and merchants along the Red River. The author notes that the character of the war had changed in 1864 and provided many examples along the Red River. Most of the countryside was marched and fought over by Union forces burning structures and goods along the way and Confederate forces foraging for food for themselves and feed for their animals. Confederates were ultimately victors in the Red River Campaign but the civilian population paid a heavy price.
Looks interesting. Thanks.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Ain't it the truth? I'll put this one on my list. Thanks for posting.

RobertP, in his ridiculously deep family collection has a quilt made by ( I think ) his grgrandmother? Her own design for the Confederacy ( it's been awhile, seem to remember it's the same one ). It's dyed red forever from their wagon upsetting in the river, during all the turmoil civilians went through. Crazy cool piece, like an illustration for the book, really. Just occurred to me to mention it- this stuff in civilian stories is like touching History.
 

J. D. Stevens

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I'll just admit to cheating and reading ahead in Spartan Band
I have several regimental history books of units who participated in the Red River Campaign, but not "Spartan Band." Read the reviews on this book at the link you posted. It looks interesting and I will put it on my list to purchase. For those interested in a more detailed description of events specific to the military aspects of the Red River Campaign, may I recommend "War Along The Bayous" by William Riley Brooksher and "One **** Blunder From Beginning To End" by Gary D. Joiner. Both are excellent and drill down into the causes, strategy, personalities, errors, destruction, and engineering feats resulting from this campaign. If you have an interest in what was going through the minds of the men who participated, you might also find a book about letters, diaries, and memoirs from the Red River Campaigns called "Little To Eat, Thin Mud To Drink" edited by Gary D. Joiner, a worthwhile read.
 


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