From Winter Camp to Pleasant Hill and Jenkins' Ferry
Volume VII in our Series "Unwritten Chapters of the Civil War West of the River"
Edited by Michael Banasik and Brenda F. Banasik
In 1885, the St. Louis Missouri Republican began a Saturday series of articles on the Civil War by the participants, from the lowliest private to the most exalted general. Recollections begat more recollections and sometimes rebuttals; small controversies raged, but all with the utmost civility, as the nameplate ("Exchanging Civilities") that appeared above most of the articles would proclaim. The series ran for two years, comprising in all 94 articles, which dealt with all theaters of the war, including the high seas, from both the Northern and Southern perspectives. Being the home of most readers of the Republican, Missouri figures prominently in the series. Due to the number of pieces on Missouri and the Trans-Mississippi, editor Michael Banasik has grouped them by year. Part Three of Confederate "Tales of the War" contains only those articles on the third year of the war, from the Confederate perspective.
Part Four covers the spring campaigns of 1864. The highlight of Chapter One is the little known "Hog Expedition" of January 1864, in which the Confederate Cavalry scoured the Arkansas River bottom for hogs, cattle, sheep, and whatever animals they could find to feed the starving army, which was in winter camps. Also inlcuded is camp life in the winter of 1863-64, which covers Christmas celebrations, establishment of camps, and the forming of a "traveling lodge" of the Masons to name but a few items.
Chapter Two covers the participation of the Arkansas and Missouri troops in the Red River Campaign of 1864. Accounts given by the particiapants, including General Thomas Churchill have never before been used in any of the secondary books published on Red River and constitute a major contribution to the Confederate perspective of that campaign. The Battle of Pleasant Hill (April 9, 1864) is covered in detail, as well as the Missouri and Arkansas troops' march to Shreveport and subsequent participation in the Red River Campaign, until they head back to Arkansas.
The final chapter covers the Camden Expedition from the time that the Union Army left Little Rock on March 23 until it returned to that city on May 2–3, 1864. Incuded are recollections of the Battles of Poison Springs (April 18), Marks' Mill (April 25) and Jenkins' Ferry (April 30).
Part Four is highly annotated, using a large volume of sources, including every known modern study on the subjects presented. Included are several appendices, with detailed Confederate Orders of Battle for Pleasant Hill, Jenkins' Ferry, as well as the lesser though still significant Battles of Poison Springs and Marks' Mill. As before, selected, detailed biographies are presented, with an assortment of correspondence from the princple personalities of the book, and a detailed index for easy reference.