Saturday, March 26, 2011

Schmidt: "'BOYS OF THE BEST FAMILIES IN THE STATE': Company E, 2nd Missouri Confederate Infantry"

["Boys of the Best Families in the State": Company E, 2nd Missouri Confederate Cavalry by Bob Schmidt (Camp Pope Publishing, 2011). 8 x 11 softcover, notes, appendices, bibliography, index. 456 pages. ISBN:978-1-929919-32-1  $32 ]

Boys of the Best Families in the StateThe men who would later fill the ranks of the Confederate Company E, 2nd Missouri Cavalry first served with the 1st and 9th Divisions (2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiments) of the Missouri State Guard. In March 1862, the Missourians transferred to Confederate service and were reformed into a battalion (the 4th) which was upgraded in July to a regiment (the 2nd). First published in 2003, Bob Schmidt's "Boys of the Best Families in the State", a biographical and genealogical record (and more) of the officers and men of Co. E, was recently reissued by Camp Pope Publishing.

The focus of Schmidt's study is the author's detailed annotated company roster. Utilizing a broad range of primary and secondary source materials (e.g. books; articles; newspapers; census, tax, pension, and probate records; government reports, genealogy publications, theses, diaries, letters, etc.), Schmidt has compiled a vast amount of personal and family information on these men. Of course, the amount of data presented varies with the amount of information available and some entries are mammoth in comparison to others. Like his other books, Schmidt's presentation is a bit stream-of-consciousness, branching off into numerous but often very interesting tangents. The amount of biographical, service record, and family material for each individual entry can be quite extensive (as one might suppose from the book's girth), and should prove to be of great use to interested ancestors and regional genealogy enthusiasts.

A lengthy appendix provides a timeline of Company E's entire involvement in the war, from initial militia service in southeast Missouri through final surrender at Citronelle, Alabama as part of Confederate General Richard Taylor's Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. Beginning with Iuka, the 2nd regiment fought many battles across Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. During this time, the Missourians served under well known cavalry raiders and commanders like Frank Armstrong, James Chalmers, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Anyone with an abiding interest in the pro-Confederate families of the the "Lead Belt" counties (St. Francois, Madison, Washington, and Iron) of SE Missouri and the military service of their fighting men will find much value in "Boys of the Best Families in the State".

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