Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Blood on the Streets: The Civil War Comes to Jackson County, Missouri, August 1862"

Ralph Monaco's Blood on the Streets: The Civil War Comes to Jackson County, Missouri, August 1862 (Jackson County Historical Society, 2012) is a very brief treatment of the the battles of Independence (August 11) and Lone Jack (August 15-16). Both clashes occurred during the turbulent 1862 period of sweeping Confederate recruitment operations across Missouri covered so well by Michael Banasik's multi-themed study Embattled Arkansas, and both were Union defeats with little in the way of lasting consequences. One might view these battles as emblematic of the difficulties of retaining Confederate influence in Missouri from 1862 onward, where even impressive tactical victories only led to subsequent evacuation and retreat. At scarcely more than 60 pages of text [the balance of the 102 pages comprising appendices (consisting of O.R. reports), bibliography, and index], the accounts of Independence and Lone Jack are reasonably good but very brief. Well selected photos and drawings are present throughout the book, but no battle maps were included, although an altered reproduction of a later period bird's eye view of Independence provides some perspective. Overall, those familiar with the published literature on both battles will not find anything that builds significantly upon existing works like those of Banasik and Joanne Eakin on Independence and the excellent Lone Jack magazine article written by Kip Lindberg and Matt Matthews. On the other hand, there is nothing really wrong with the book and its accessible brevity and reasonable price should make it attractive to local museum and historical society gift shop patrons.

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