Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Booknotes: General Henry Baxter, 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

New Arrival:

General Henry Baxter, 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry: A Biography by Jay C. Martin (McFarland, 2016).

Native New Yorker Baxter moved west with his family to Michigan as a child. According to the book description "Baxter was involved in developing Michigan's political, business and educational foundations. He excelled at enterprise, leading a group of adventurers to California during the Gold Rush, co-founding what would become the Republican Party and eventually becoming President Grant's diplomat to Honduras during one of the most dynamic periods of Central American history." Rising from captain to brevet major general, his Civil War career was noteworthy, fighting and receiving wounds in many eastern theater battles. Colonel of the 7th Michigan by the time of Fredericksburg, his regiment was selected to cross the Rappahannock River under fire on December 11, 1862 and establish a bridgehead on the other side. Promoted to brigadier general, Baxter's command would famously contribute to the severe mauling of Rodes's Division north of Gettysburg on July 1. He would lead a brigade for the rest of the war. Jay Martin's biography covers Baxter's entire life, with substantial sections on Baxter's early life and postwar years. The bibliography looks solid, with a healthy amount of manuscript research.

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