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» » Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864
Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864

Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864

Samuel Mitcham Jr.
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4.4 of 5
Pelican Publishing; Book Club EDITION edition (April 27, 2012)

The Union invades the Red River Valley. This book details one of the most surprising and humiliating defeats in United States' military history. The campaign began in April of 1864 when the Union army invaded the Red River Valley, anticipating little resistance from the Confederates. But when General Taylor launched a surprise attack near Mansfield, the Yankees were soon running for their lives.

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7 Reviews
  • I loved this book. Tells so much that history books don't tell.

  • The Confederates are the good guys and they chase the would-be invaders across Louisiana. What could be better?

  • This book is not a professional work of history; it is rife with inaccuracies and unwarranted speculation (particularly on the character of some of the Confederate officers in the campaign). At least it is colorful and entertaining - the author does know how to spin a yarn. But there are areas that he is just not accurate: for instance confusing Confederate Brigadier General Tom Green with Thomas Jefferson Green, the sometime Texas politician who played no role in the Civil War. Essentially the book reads as an extended fluff piece in a popular military history magazine, and it not to be relied upon.

    For those interested in this theatre in the Civil War, Dr. Donald Frazier's in-progress Louisiana Quadrille, starting with Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas, January 1861-January 1863 is the definitive account.

  • In stark contract to the first two reviews, I did not find this books to be well written or well researched. I found it to be the opposite of illuminating and I regretted buying it. There are far better books on the same subject.

  • The negative reviews of this book are so inapplicable that I suspect an organized effort by a few people who likely did not even read the book. After having read it myself I could not discern any basis for the claim that the author "confused" General Thomas Green with another gentleman of the same name, except for the middle initial "J." that appears in Green's index listing. Really?? And the reviewer who furiously belabors the issue of black Confederates devotes more words to the subject than the author! Contrary to that reviewer's claim, the author lists abundant sources in his discussion of this topic (consisting altogether of two pages in a 363-page book). One really must be skeptical regarding some reviews, particularly those that focus on a single issue. Some people would not believe that black men fought for the Confederacy even if legions of them were to march before their eyes. My mind was opened after I had the good fortune of hearing an African-American speaker on the subject. His employment puts him in daily contact with historical archives of a Southern state, and he presented abundant evidence of large numbers of black Confederate soldiers. He also advanced an interesting theory of the reasons behind the resistance to this fact, which might surprise those who fight it so vehemently.

    But on to the book itself, which serves as an excellent, engaging treatment of the war in Louisiana and the Red River campaign. The author is a succinct writer with special expertise in clearly explaining strategic thinking and maneuvering. So superbly does he link officers' backgrounds and personalities and foibles with their decision-making that the reader feels as though he thoroughly understands the actors. In addition to the famous, you will meet remarkable men not generally known, such as Col. Richard Gano: cavalry commander (victor at Cabin Creek), medical doctor, compassionate Church of Christ minister, and livestock expert. Mitcham especially delves into Richard Taylor's mind, and clearly favors Taylor in the Kirby Smith conflict. He also gives Banks rare fair treatment, acknowledging his strengths without sparing his pitfalls.

    Yes, there are a few minuscule errors--for example, the Mexican War was 18 years, not 28, prior to the Red River fight (p.155). This kind of mistake is minor and inadvertent, but by no means is the book riddled with them as another reviewer claims. The quality of a work is in the depth of the author's insights without breaking faith with the facts of what actually happened, and that is what Mitcham offers here. One senses that the author is a truly honest thinker who appreciates many aspects of an issue and has the ability skillfully to convey them.

    I really appreciate the heartfelt effort that Samuel Mitcham made to give Louisiana its due in the Civil War story, for that state surely paid dearly and suffered immensely. If I were asked to recommend one book that covers this part of the Civil War, Mitcham's book would be it.

  • While the story of the Red River campaign is interesting (particularly since it's given short shrift in most Civil War histories), the poor editing exhibited in this book makes it hard to recommend it. There are way too many misspellings, repetitive sentences and authorial interjections (so what if Southern women make the best pies?!) clouding a reader's appreciation for a history which contained enough colorful personalities and battlefield bravery to have made this a great read. Sorry, but Pelican Press needs to get its act together.

  • This is a very great book! Very descriptive and paints a visual picture of what you are reading about. great arthor and great book! Keep on writing.

  • very disappointed. Read the introduction and was shocked to read that there were thousands of black soldiers fighting in the Confederate army. I took everything else with grains of salt.