by Dennis W. Belcher
Jefferson, NC: Mcfarland, 2011. Pp. xii, 336.
Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 0786448822
Although the Unionist 11th Missouri is one of Fox’s “300” regiments, those that took the heaviest casualties in the war, this is the first history of the regiment.
The regiment, composed, oddly, largely of men from Illinois, served in the Western Theatre as part of the “Eagle Brigade”, fighting at Iuka, Corinth, Vicksburg, the Red River Campaign, and Nashville, among other actions. Belcher, who is also the author of The 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, does an excellent job of presenting th hsitory of the regiment, particularly considering the absence of any substantial volume of personal accounts by veterans or even any publications by the veterans’ association. He opens with an overview of the confusing, yet highly critical, early days of the war in Missouri. Then, after discussing the formation of the regiment and its anomalous composition, he follows it through the war, including its reorganization in 1863, upon the expiration of its initial enlistment. There’s a lot of fighting in the book, as the regiment was in the thick of it on several notable occasions, particularly during the defense of Battery Robinett at Corinth and in the assault on the Stockade Redan at Vicksburg. The book is full of well-selected period illustrations, has some excellent maps, and a detailed treatment of personnel and casualties.
Anyone interested in the Civil War is likely to find The 11th Missouri Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War worthwhile reading.