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In this thoroughly researched and authoritative book, Scarred By War: Civil War in Southeast Louisiana, Christopher Peña has revised and updated his earlier work and expanded the scope to include a study of the remaining two years of the war, a period filled with intense Confederate guerilla warfare. The literary result is a book that recounts the political, social, military, and economic aspects of the war as they played out in southeast Louisiana’s bayou country.
Taking its title from Sherman's blunt description, One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 is a fresh inspection of what was the Civil War's largest operation between the Union Army and Navy west of the Mississippi River. In a bold, but poorly managed effort to wrest Louisiana and Texas from Confederate control, a combined force of 40,000 Union troops and 60 naval vessels traveled up the twisting Red River in an attempt to capture the capital city of Shreveport.Gary D. Joiner provides not a recycled telling of the campaign, but a strategic and tactical overview based on a stunning new array of facts gleaned from recently discovered documents. This never-before-published information reveals that the Confederate army had laid a clever trap by engineering a drop in the water level of the Red River to try to maroon the Union naval flotilla. Only the equally amazing ingenuity of the Union troops saved the fleet from certain destruction, despite a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Mansfield.
The Red River campaign had lasting implications. One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End magnifies just how devastating the diversion of so many men and so much material to this failed campaign was to the Union effort in the pivotal year of 1864. Because of the Union Army's failures, Northern plans to capture Mobile were scrapped. Military careers were made and lost. And at time when the Confederacy was teetering on the brink of oblivion, Southern morale was bolstered.Joiner puts together
Before assuming command of a division of Texas infantry in early 1863, Walker earned the approval of Robert E. Lee for his leadership at the Battle of Antietam. Indeed, Lee later expressed regret at the transfer of Walker from the Army of Northern Virginia to the Trans-Mississippi Department. As the leader of the Texas Division (known later as the Greyhound Division for its long, rapid marches across Louisiana and Arkansas), Walker led an attempt to relieve the great Confederate fortress at Vicksburg during the siege by the Federal army in the spring and summer of 1863. Ordered to attack Ulysses Grant's forces on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Walker unleashed a furious assault on black and white Union troops stationed at Milliken's Bend, Louisiana. The encounter was only the second time in American history that organized regiments of African American troops fought in a pitched battle. After the engagement, Walker realized the great potential of black regiments for the Union cause.
Walker's Texans later fought at the battle of Bayou Bourbeau in south Louisiana, where they helped to turn back a Federal attempt to attack Texas via an overland route from New Orleans. In the winter of 1863--1864, Walker's infantry and artillery disrupted Union shipping on the Mississippi River. According to Lowe, the Greyhound Division's crucial role in throwing back the Union's 1864 Red River Campaign remains its greatest accomplishment. Walker led his men on a marathon operation in which they marched about nine hundred miles and fought three large battles in ten weeks, a feat unmatched by any other division -- Union or Confederate -- in the war. General Walker's history stands as a testament to his skilled leadership and provides an engaging primary source document for scholars, students, and others interested in Civil War history.