Civil War Photo Contest
Regtl. Quartermaster Chickamauga 2018
- Jul 21, 2015
- Houston,TX area
Searched the forum before posting to make sure there wasn't another review thread posted.
Finished this one last night. A few comments:
1. It is 144 pages,with quite a few pictures,drawings and maps so it is a pretty quick read. Reading some every night,it took me five days.
2. The book is basically 5 chapters. 2 are about the land forces action during the campaign,1 on naval forces action,1 dealing with Union occupation/garrison troop duties/life and 1 about doing a driving tour of the various historical sites of the campaign.
3. The land forces action section was mostly about Gen. Taylor(CSA),Gen. Banks(USA),Gen. Mouton(CSA),Gen. Gray's(CSA) Louisiana Brigade and Col. Beard's(CSA) Louisiana Consolidated Crescent Regiment. That part of the book was disappointing to me because the bulk of the Confederate forces were not Louisiana regiments,but they suffered the most casualties at Mansfield and the book was only 144 pages. Not much about Union forces at all. The other notable thing is that it was Lincoln who really wanted the campaign to happen. Grant opposed it,but Sherman was in favor of it. Troops from Sherman were detached to Banks but he was given a strict timetable to return them to Sherman. Just from memory,those sections of the book also described Fort DeRussy and the Battle Of Blair's Landing which were a coupla other significant engagements in the campaign. Also,the content about the areas being pretty well foraged out by the armies and the treatment of the wounded was interesting.
4. I learned the most from the naval forces action section because that aspect of the campaign is the one I least knew about. Rear Admiral David Porter was in command of the Union naval forces. It was a risky venture. I believe his fleet was about 30+ ships which included ironclads,tinclads,gunboats and transports. The river was lower than they anticipated. I think the fleet made it a little past Alexandria before it turned back due to the retreat of Banks' forces from Mansfield/Pleasant Hill. I think about 9 ships were lost in the campaign including one ironclad,mostly in the trip back downriver. Knowing the Red River,I get the impression that "ironclads" operating there must have been shallow draft,armored gunboats in actuality. Maybe someone with a little more knowledge of CW naval vessels will comment on that. The other thing that struck me about that section of the book was how undermanned and outgunned the Trans-Mississippi Confederate forces were. With 1000-1500 more men and maybe a dozen heavy shore batteries,the Confederates could've battered the Union fleet going and coming especially after Banks marched his forces away from the river towards Pleasant Hill/Mansfield.
5. The section about Union occupation/garrison forces was mostly letters to home written by a Lieutenant from NY who served as a Brigade Staff Officer and in the Quartermaster section of the occupation forces in Alexandria,LA. His only rough duty was in the retreat. The Union forces were harassed all the way out by Confederate forces not really strong enough to stop them.