Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Booknotes: Chasing Mosby, Killing Booth

New Arrival:
Chasing Mosby, Killing Booth: The 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry by James Carson (McFarland, 2017).

From the description: "An amalgam of three partially formed regiments, the 16th was plagued by early desertions, poor leadership and a near mutiny as its First Battalion prepared to march to northern Virginia to bolster the outer defenses of Washington in October 1863. The regiment spent most of the remainder of the war chasing Mosby's cavalry. They won a few tactical victories but were mainly confounded by the Confederate guerrillas."

In addition to its service narrative of the 16th NY, Chasing Mosby, Chasing Booth contains an officer & NCO biographical roster (including a detailed entry for Booth killer Boston Corbett). A superficial glance at the bibliography reveals a promising source scope and range, with manuscript research from primarily NY-based collections but also numerous government archives and records.

"Near the end of the Civil War, Army Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck described the 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry as 'cowed and useless' after they were 'cut up' by Confederate Colonel John Mosby's Rangers." However, "(t)he following April the New Yorkers made their place in history when 26 men led by Lieutenant Edward P. Doherty captured and killed John Wilkes Booth." The regiment's strong links to two of the most popular topics in Civil War lore (Mosby's Confederacy and the Lincoln assassination) should add to the book's appeal.

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