Monday, August 5, 2019

Booknotes: "May God have Mercy on Us."

New Arrival:
"May God have Mercy on Us.": The Twenty Days of the Cane River Campaign in Louisiana by Weldon Nash, Jr., John Taylor & Mitchel Whitington (23 House Publishing, 2019).

Despite the 1864 Red River Campaign's status as the Trans-Mississippi's largest military operation, the literature's treatment of it remains remarkably lacking in depth. Sure, the topic has been covered in numerous general overview studies from Johnson, Joiner, Robertson, Forsyth, Brooksher, and others, but accounts of both signature battles (Mansfield and Pleasant Hill) still exist only in article or chapter form.

The newly released "May God have Mercy on Us.": The Twenty Days of the Cane River Campaign in Louisiana promises a more in-depth look at a three-week segment of the Red River Campaign that occurred between the conclusion of the fighting at Pleasant Hill and the escape of Banks's retreating army from Richard Taylor's aggressive Cane River "trap." Authored by Weldon Nash, Jr., John Taylor, and Mitchel Whitington, the book recounts the action on a day-by-day basis, the main feature being the controversial Battle of Monett's Ferry.

From the description: "Most give the Battle of Monett's Ferry only a paragraph or two in the overall affair, if that. In reality, the entire Cane River episode of the war lasted for almost a month and included a myriad of confrontations from minor skirmishes to all-out battle, a near-mutiny on the side of the North, a struggle for ships to escape down the Red River, and a wave of wanton destruction through what is now Natchitoches Parish. This book brings together all the elements of the war that took place along the Cane River in Louisiana in the spring of 1864. Whenever possible, the story is told in the words of the people who actually lived it the soldiers and officers through their diaries, letters, and journal entries."

The narrative portion of the book runs around 115 pages and is profusely illustrated with photographs and previously published maps. Detail level appears middle range. The bibliography consists of published sources of various types and a few primary sources made available online.


  1. Drew, Thanks for posting. Appreciate your digging to find authors who publish on those corners of the Civil War still uncovered, especially the tired refrain of the Penisula Campaign and the Red River Campaign. I have Milbourn's great articles on Pleasant Hill, Mansfield and Yellow Bayou. Still awaiting the Book Length Treatment they deserve though. Curt Thomasco

    1. Yes, those N&S articles are some of best work we have. I always held out hope that Milbourn and his writing partner Steve Bounds would 'graduate' to book writing, but it didn't happen.

  2. Still have my fingers crossed that Don Frazier will finish up his Death at the Landing in the next few years, but I don't see any evidence of that happening.

    Chris Van Blargan


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