Thursday, May 20, 2021

Booknotes: "We Gave Them Thunder"

New Arrival:
"We Gave Them Thunder": Marmaduke’s Raid and the Civil War in Missouri and Arkansas by William Garrett Piston and John C. Rutherford (Ozarks Studies Inst, 2021).

During the Civil War, Confederate cavalry general John Sappington Marmaduke conducted two major raids from an Arkansas base into his native Missouri. Conducted on opposite sides of the state and achieving little to compensate for the cost and effort expended, the first reached its climax in SW Missouri at the Second Battle of Springfield on January 8, 1863 while Marmaduke's second Missouri raid, this time into SE Missouri, was thwarted by the strongly fortified defenses of Cape Girardeau in late April of that year. The Springfield operation has received far more book-length attention in the historiography, and that trend will continue with the publication this summer of William Piston and John Rutherford's "We Gave Them Thunder": Marmaduke’s Raid and the Civil War in Missouri and Arkansas.

The book is substantial in size, with the main narrative running 280 pages in length, and is divided into four parts. Part I provides extensive background and context for the raid, Part II a detailed account of the January 8 battle at Springfield, and Part III a similarly extensive history of the January 11 follow-on battle fought at Hartville. Part IV discusses the raid in "history and memory." Presentation looks very nice, with the text supplemented by a number of color maps and images. Maps are essential to any military history study, but doubly so for more obscure operations fought over ground less familiar to most Civil War readers. The 13 maps commissioned for this book should be very helpful in that regard.

Big thanks to the Missouri State University system's Ozarks Studies Institute for getting a copy in my hands this far in advance of the August publication date. A pretty common practice long ago but an extreme rarity in recent years, it will give me plenty of time to prepare the review prior to release (though I'm sure it's already an instabuy for those interested in the topic and familiar with Piston's award-winning work on another Springfield-area battle, Wilson's Creek).

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