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Greyhound Commander

Confederate General John G. Walker's History of the Civil War West of the Mississippi

edited by Richard Lowe

Publication Year: 2013

While a political refugee in London, former Confederate general John G. Walker wrote a history of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. Walker's account, composed shortly after the war and unpublished until now, remains one of only two memoirs by high-ranking Confederate officials who fought in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Edited and expertly annotated by Richard Lowe -- author of the definitive history of Walker's Texas division -- the general's insightful narrative describes firsthand his experience and many other military events west of the great river.

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.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-9

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Editor’s Preface

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pp. ix-15

While doing research in the 1990s for a history of John G. Walker’s Texas Division in the American Civil War, I came upon a document that had been examined by previous researchers but was not widely known among non-specialists in the war west of the Mississippi River. General Walker himself, shortly after the conflict ended, had written...

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EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION: The General and His History

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pp. 1-32

When Walt Whitman wrote in 1882 that “the real war will never get in the books,” he could not have known that, over the next century, fifty thousand books on the American Civil War would be published. And in the following thirty years, thousands more volumes, examining and...

Original Title Page

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pp. 33-34

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Mrs. Walker’s Preface

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pp. 35-36

This partial history of the campaigns of the Trans-Mississippi Department was written by my husband the late Gen. Major-General John G. Walker, C.S.A. in London, England, at the close of the Civil War when the events which he narrates were fresh in his mind, & the feelings...

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CHAPTER 1. [No chapter title]

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pp. 37-46

In order to afford the reader a clearer understanding of the events of the last three years of the war, west of the Mississippi, it will be useful to review briefly the occurrences of 1861 and ’62. Missouri, the most populous of the States west of the Mississippi, although peopled largely by emigration from the slave-holding states of Virginia...

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CHAPTER 2. Operations in the Trans-Mississippi States in 1862

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pp. 47-83

In the early Spring of this year the Federal Army, twenty thousand strong, under Major General [Samuel R.] Curtis, was put in motion from St. Louis for the invasion of Arkansas via South Western Missouri.1 Price, who during the winter had occupied that portion of the latter State, with his headquarters at Springfield, rapidly fell back into Arkansas...

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CHAPTER 3. Military Operations West of the Mississippi during the Year 1864

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pp. 84-104

To enable the reader more clearly to understand what follows it will [be] useful to bear in mind the strength and relative situation of the Federal and Confederate armies at the opening of the season for active operations in the Spring of ’64. As has already been said Gen. Franklin [should be Frederick...

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CHAPTER 4. The Arkansas Campaign and the Battle of the Saline

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pp. 105-113

Leaving Gen. Banks to pursue his retreat, followed by the diminished forces of Gen. Taylor, let us turn our attention in another direction. Gen. Steele was still at Camden, in ignorance of the defeat of Banks, but such was the condition of the roads and the failing strength of his draft animals upon which he depended to bring his subsistence from the Arkansas...

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CHAPTER 5. The Federal Evacuation of Red River Valley

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pp. 114-120

We left General Taylor in pursuit of Banks’ flying and demoralized army, and we will now resume the narrative of the events that resulted in its expulsion from the valley of the Red River. With so considerable an army at his disposal, still numbering quite thirty thousand men..


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pp. 121-130


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pp. 131-135

E-ISBN-13: 9780807152515
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807152508

Page Count: 152
Illustrations: 8 maps
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 859229442
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Greyhound Commander

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Subject Headings

  • Southwest, Old -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
  • Southwest, Old -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate.
  • Walker, John George, 1822-1893.
  • Generals -- Confederate States of America -- Biography.
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