Friday, November 4, 2022

Booknotes: Civil War Generals of Indiana

New Arrival:
Civil War Generals of Indiana by Carl E. Kramer (Arcadia Pub and The Hist Press, 2022).

Indiana was a top-five manpower contributor to Union armed forces, ranking just behind fellow Midwest states Illinois and Ohio, but upon seeing this title (Civil War Generals of Indiana by Carl Kramer) I rather struggled to come up with my choice for the quintessential Indiana general. My first thought was Jefferson C. Davis, about whom mixed feelings abound. However, there are others that I might have chosen had I been more aware of their associations with the state.

One of the toughest decisions involved in compiling books like this is choosing which individuals to include. Such a process is far from cut and dried. Nineteenth-century Americans were commonly mobile, and when someone like a Civil War general becomes famous it is often the case that multiple states will claim him as their own. This is certainly highlighted in the description and cover art of this title, with Ambrose Burnside perhaps associated more with Rhode Island than Indiana in the minds of Civil War readers, and Lovell Rousseau with Kentucky.

Nevertheless, Kramer settled upon nearly 120 figures with Indiana ties significant enough for inclusion. In the book, he "provides biographical sketches of every identifiable Indiana general who attained full-rank, brevet, and state-service status in the tragic struggle."

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