Saturday, April 28, 2012

Texas battery histories

Every once in a while, an online listing tempts me yet again into the madness of book buying that is the eBay experience. I ended up paying a little bit more than I intended for an auction win of John D. Perkins' Daniel's Battery: The 9th Texas Field Battery (Hill College Press, 1998), so hopefully it will be worth it.

Seeing the book offering also reminded me of a handful of other highly obscure Texas battery histories (or edited letter collections, which together with the notes comprise something of a unit history) that I've always wanted to get my hands on.  Jane Johansson wrote a useful post about a pair of these, her comments on each in quotes below:

* Cannon Smoke: The Letters of Captain John J. Good, Good-Douglas Texas Battery, CSA  ed. by Lester Newton Fitzhugh (Hill Junior College Press, 1971).
"This well edited volume reproduces the correspondence of Captain Good and his wife, Susan, from April 1861 to May 1862 when Captain Good resigned his commission. Appendices include several rosters of the battery."
* Douglas's Texas Battery, CSA  comp. and ed. by Lucia Rutherford Douglas (Smith County Historical Society, 1966).
"The correspondence of Captain James P. Douglas, the second (and last) commander of the battery, and his wife, Sallie, are contained in this book. Additionally the book contains the diary of Private Sam Thompson, the 1864 diary of Captain Douglas, a short sketch of the battery by Private James Lunsford, and two rosters."
* Another short study of a Texas battery that fought primarily in the Trans-Mississippi is Paul C. Boethel's The Big Guns of Fayette (Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1965), a history of Creuzbaur's Battery.

Unless you are prepared to pay a premium, interlibrary loan is your best bet for viewing copies of these books. It's too bad reprints (or even digital scans) are not in the cards for so many scarce titles published in the 60s and 70s by small presses dealing with subjects and topics not substantively revisited since.  Along these lines for Texas, it might be short monographs from publishers like Hill College Press and Texas Western Press.


  1. Hi Drew,
    I don't actually own a copy of "Daniel's Battery," but used a copy that I acquired via interlibrary loan. The book itself is based on the master's thesis that John Perkins wrote under the direction of Dr. Richard Lowe at the University of North Texas. Dr. Lowe was also my advisor, and so my history of the 28th Texas and John's study are similar in some ways. Both feature, for example, a statistical analysis of our respective units, but John's book includes a roster of Daniel's Battery. For some reason, the University of Arkansas balked at including my 50+ page roster...

    1. Jane,
      It must grind your gears a little to get blamed for the absence of a roster. Be it issues with maps, rosters, illustrations, etc., anything at the mercy of the publisher, it is nearly always the author that bears the brunt of buyer and reviewer disgruntlement!


***PLEASE READ BEFORE COMMENTING***: You must SIGN YOUR NAME when submitting your comment. In order to maintain civil discourse and ease moderating duties, anonymous comments will be deleted. Comments containing outside promotions and/or product links will also be removed. Thank you for your cooperation.