Book Review: Rogue: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry


by John K. Driscoll

Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pp. x, 217. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 0786423854

In this aptly titled work,Driscoll, author of, among others,Civil War on Pensacola Bay, 1861-1862, gives us an excellent account of the amazing career of the man whom Ezra Warner, called ?one of the most thoroughgoing rogues ever to wear a United States uniform,? 

As a junior officer in Mexico , McKinstry (USMA, 1838, with Beauregard and McDowell) did well under fire, earning a brevet for major, but had already begun a career in which graft and crooked dealings took precedence over military ethics. Taking advantage of his status as a quartermaster, during his many years of service McKinstry developed considerable skill at juggling the books, manipulating regulations, and surviving inquiries and courts martial, on no less than five occasions! Made a brigadier general in mid-1861, as a quartermaster based in St. Louis he began grafting on an heroic scale, eventually becoming the only general officer in either army to be cashiered for corruption.  

In addition to telling the sad tale of McKinstry?s career, Rogue provides a good look at military administration during the Civil War.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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