Monday, January 30, 2006

25 Great Trans-Mississippi books (Part 3 - Final)

10. Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era by Nicole Etcheson

9. The Battle of Carthage: Border War in Southwest Missouri, July 5, 1861 by David Hinze and Karen Farnham
(comment: good coverage of battles and events in Missouri up to the Battle of Wilson's Creek. A nice account of the battle of Boonville is included followed by a highly detailed tactical history of the running fight at Carthage.)

8. Sabine Pass : The Confederacy's Thermopylae by Edward Cotham

7. Island No. 10 : Struggle for the Mississippi Valley by Larry Daniel and Lynn Bock

6. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek by Edwin C. Bearss
(comment: thorough, clearly written account and remains the best tactical history of the battle itself. Very nice maps.)

5. October 25th and the Battle of Mine Creek by Lumir Buresh
(comment: a great tactical history of Mine Creek and a wonderfully rich retelling of the Confederate retreat and Union pursuit after the 1864 Battle of Westport)

4. The Division: Defending Little Rock, Aug. 24th-Sept. 10th, 1863 by Timothy Burford and Stephanie McBride
(comment: this is a marginal inclusion to the list. Although harmed by very poor binding and printing along with a novelistic writing style that takes a lot of liberties, this book is the only detailed history of the battles surrounding the capture of Little Rock. In that respect, it is quite good. Maps, although a bit crude, are plentiful and very detailed.)

3. Embattled Arkansas by Michael Banasik
(comment: the centerpiece of this book is the Prairie Grove campaign but many chapters cover 1862 events in Missouri, including the massive recruiting campaigns, and the battles of Newtonia and Lone Jack. Extensive coverage of Union campaigns into Indian Territory is present as well.)

2. The Vicksburg Campaign 3 Vols by Edwin C. Bearss
(comment: heavy T-M coverage, both land and naval. Including great sections on Arkansas Post, the Battle of Helena, and various other attacks on Union conclaves along the west bank of the Mississippi.)

1. Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West by Earl Hess and William Shea
(comment: IMO, this is the best history of any CW battle or campaign. But then again Pea Ridge is my favorite battle to study so I am biased.)


  1. Drew,

    I find it remarkable that there is not a single work on Price's 1864 Missouri raid here. Is that because there are no good books?


  2. Eric,
    If you mean a book that covers the entire raid (Buresh's Mine Creek book covers the retreat part of Price's Raid well), you hit it on the nose! The list awaits... For a general work, I thought about including Monnett's "Action Before Westport" of course. It could have been on the list as it is the best book so far that covers the expedition as a whole, but I just don't have much affection for it. Also, a certain researcher who is working currently on the subject keeps saying it is riddled with errors too, but I don't know anything specific beyond that.


  3. Drew,

    Considering the importance of the raid, it really is surprising that there hasn't been a detailed tactical treatemtn of it. Obviously, it's long overdue.



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