Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Booknotes: General J.O. Shelby at Clarendon, Arkansas

New Arrival:
General J. O. Shelby at Clarendon, Arkansas: The Capture and Destruction of the U.S.S. Queen City by Don Roth (Camp Pope Publishing, 2017)

Upon conclusion of the Camden Expedition (the Arkansas wing of the disastrous Red River Campaign) in spring 1864, Joseph O. Shelby and his command were sent behind enemy lines into NE Arkansas. There, the newly promoted General Shelby became in effect the sole Confederate authority in the region, suppressing outlaws and guerrillas, vigorously enforcing conscription, and conducting hit and run attacks on Union forces.

One of Shelby's most notable military achievements was his brigade's capture and destruction of the tinclad gunboat USS Queen City in June 1864. That dramatic event is the focus of Don Roth's book. A slim volume of only 62 pages, it consists of a narrative history plus a number of appendices [among them a partial roster of Bledsoe's Battery (the unit that battered the vessel into submission), some artifacts taken from the wreck during a 1977 archeological survey, and a list of black sailors rescued from the sinking].

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