Book Review: Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State

Archives

by Mark K. Christ

Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2010. Pp. xii, 321. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 0806140879

In Civil War Arkansas, 1863, Mark K. Christ, the author of The Die Is Cast: Arkansas Goes to War, 1861, Ready, Booted, and Spurred: Arkansas in the U.S.- Mexican War, and several other works, gives us an excellent account of the protracted struggle to restore Federal authority in Arkansas River Valley, as complex, bloody, and difficult as any campaign in the war, but largely obscured by the combination of having occurred in the Trans-Mississippi theatre, and taking place at the very same time spectacular battles were occurring further east, from Chancellorsville and Gettysburg to Vicksburg and Chickamauga.  

Christ opens the book with a very useful description of the geographic setting, frequently overlooked in military histories, as well as the social, and political environment in which the campaign unfolded.  Then, drawing upon many letters and diaries, he gives us vivid accounts of a surprising number of seriously hot fights, today almost totally forgotten, notably Arkansas Post, Helena, Fort Smith, and Pine Bluff.  Along the way, we are also given short, often lively profiles of the principal officers on both sides, most less than famous, but among them Union's notoriously "political" John A. McClernand, who probably did his best work in Arkansas. 

Any serious student of the Civil War will find this a valuable book.

---///---

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close