This comprehensive history of the Civil War in Louisiana adds an important chapter to the story of the most tragic episode in American history. Too often the war in the West has been overlooked by historians and scholars with their eyes on the great battles in the East: Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, Antietam. But military events elsewhere were no less significant in deciding that the cause of secession should fail and that the cause of the Union should succeed.
It was in Louisiana that the Confederacy lost its largest city, and the fall of New Orleans was a crucial one. It was in Louisiana that the South lost its last bid for control of the Mississippi. The surrender of the besieged garrison at Port Hudson only days after the loss of Vicksburg cut the Confederacy’s single lifeline to the West. It was in Louisiana that the last armies fought on, there that the last hope of victory died in June of 1865.
The Civil War in Louisiana covers the war from the first talk of secession to the last tragic scenes. Here are the battles—the great river engagement in which Farragut’s fleet shelled its way past Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the Confederate attack on Union forces holding Baton Rouge, the war in the Teche country, the burning of Alexandria, the battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill.
Here, too, are the men, the players at this game of war—Edmund Kirby Smith, Dick Taylor, the general called “Beast,” and a wounded soldier named Henry Watkins Allen who served as governor.
“Professor Winters,” says the distinguished Civil War author and scholar T. Harry Williams in his introduction, “has researched widely and deeply, in scattered and sometimes fugitive sources, and he has produced a fuller story of Louisiana in the Civil War than has ever before been told. He spreads out a full story but not a mere accumulation of facts. He has written his narrative with sympathy and humor and interest, and always with objective restraint. It is a work that should stand for many years as authoritative in its field.”
T. Harry Williams (1909–1979) was Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana State University. He won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Huey Long: A Biography. Among his other works are Lincoln and His Generals, With Beauregard in Mexico, Romance and Realism in Southern Politics, and Americans at War: The Development of the American Military System.
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