Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Booknotes: The Red River Campaign and Its Toll

New Arrival:
The Red River Campaign and Its Toll: 69 Bloody Days in Louisiana, March - May 1864 by Henry O. Robertson (McFarland, 2016).

I've often mentioned on the site the many short, single volume treatments of the 1864 Red River Campaign that were published in the decades following Ludwell Johnson's pioneering 1958 study Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War (which still holds up rather well). Among these are works by Gary Joiner, William Brooksher, Michael Forsyth, Samuel Mitcham, and Curt Anders, and the quality is highly variable. A rare entry from a professional historian, Henry Robertson's new book The Red River Campaign and Its Toll might be the briefest of the bunch in terms of page length but it's one of the deeper researched (at least that's the impression from my quick glance at the bibliography, with its significant body of archival and other primary sources). According to the description, "(t)his book takes a fresh look at the fierce battles at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, the Union army's escape from Monett's Ferry and the burning of Alexandria, and explains the causes and consequences of the war in Central Louisiana."

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