Until relatively recently, conventional wisdom held that the
Trans-Mississippi Theater was a backwater of the American Civil
War. Scholarship in recent decades has corrected this oversight,
and a growing number of historians agree that the events west of
the Mississippi River proved integral to the outcome of the war.
Nevertheless, generals in the Trans-Mississippi have received
little attention compared to their eastern counterparts, and many
remain mere footnotes to Civil War history. This welcome volume
features cutting-edge analyses of eight Southern generals in this
most neglected theater--Thomas Hindman, Theophilus Holmes, Edmund
Kirby Smith, Mosby Monroe Parsons, John Marmaduke, Thomas James
Churchill, Thomas Green, and Joseph Orville Shelby--providing an
enlightening new perspective on the Confederate high command.
Although the Trans-Mississippi has long been considered a dumping
ground for failed generals from other regions, the essays presented
here demolish that myth, showing instead that, with a few notable
exceptions, Confederate commanders west of the Mississippi were
homegrown, not imported, and compared well with their more
celebrated peers elsewhere. With its virtually nonexistent
infrastructure, wildly unpredictable weather, and few opportunities
for scavenging, the Trans-Mississippi proved a challenge for
commanders on both sides of the conflict. As the contributors to
this volume demonstrate, only the most creative minds could operate
successfully in such an unforgiving environment.
While some of these generals have been the subjects of larger
studies, others, including Generals Holmes, Parsons, and Churchill,
receive their first serious scholarly attention in these pages.
Clearly demonstrating the independence of the Trans-Mississippi and
the nuances of the military struggle there, while placing both the
generals and the theater in the wider scope of the war, these eight
essays offer valuable new insight into Confederate military
leadership and the ever-vexing questions of how and why the South
lost this most defining of American conflicts.
Lawrence Lee Hewitt was professor of history at Southeastern
Louisiana University. He is the coeditor, with Bruce S. Allardice,
of "Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field ""Officers
of the Bluegrass State." He and Arthur W. Bergeron Jr. coedited
three volumes of "Confederate Generals in the Western Theater."
Until his death in 2010, Arthur W. Bergeron Jr. was a reference
historian with the United States Army Military History Institute.
He was the author of "Confederate Mobile, 1861-1865," and coeditor,
with Lawrence Lee Hewitt, of "Louisianians in the Civil War."
Thomas E. Schott worked for many years as a historian for the U. S.
Air Force and U. S. Special Operations Command. He is the author of
"Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia," which won the Jefferson Davis
Award. He has authored numerous articles on subjects ranging from
the Civil War to baseball. Schott is co-editor, with Lawrence Lee
Hewitt, of "Lee and His Generals: Essays in Honor of T. Harry
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