- In Deadly Earnest: The History of the First Missouri Brigade, CSA, and: The South's Finest: The First Missouri Confederate Brigade from Pea Ridge to Vicksburg (review)
- Civil War History
- The Kent State University Press
- Volume 40, Number 3, September 1994
- pp. 257-259
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS257 Record Office, the British Library, and the Library of Congress in Washington , D.C. The documents demonstrate how six British ministers viewed the American domestic scene and sent candid analyses to London that in turn affected British policy. As samples, the exchange of correspondence shows the confusion experienced by British minister Sir Richard Pakenham in dealing with the Polk administration over the Oregon question. A breakdown in communications developed between Pakenham and his superiors in London that was attributable primarily to Foreign Secretary Lord Aberdeen rather than to his much-maligned minister in Washington. The letters also demonstrate Britain 's initial failure to foresee the impact of the Civil War on Anglo-American relations. The major concern of British minister Lord Lyons in Washington was to prevent Union interference with British trade. In a simplistic approach to the issue, he thought it better that his government recognize the Confederacy than to enter a dispute over the Union attempt to bar British ships from Southern ports. Such a proposal might have been in accordance with international law, but it was not realistic: in this and other issues affecting intervention , Lyons failed to see that recognition would legitimize secession and thereby undermine Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union. Although the British remained neutral throughout the contest, they continually grappled with the Americans over the Trent affair, intervention crisis, mediation, and the believed purposeful incitation of slave insurrections by the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite some weaknesses, this volume reaffirms the importance of the Atlantic relationship in general and the international dimensions of the Civil War in particular. More analysis by the editors would have placed these letters within the broad scheme of history. Their transitions between documents are more often thin than useful, leaving the reader to guess about the importance of the letters. But their collection of materials clearly establishes the Civil War as an inescapable part of the international scene because of longtime social, economic, political, strategic, and humanitarian considerations that affected both Atlantic nations. Howard Jones University of Alabama In Deadly Earnest: The History of the First Missouri Brigade, CSA. By Phil Gottschalk. (Columbia: Missouri River Press, 1991. Pp. xiv, 562. $29.95.) The South's Finest: The First Missouri Confederate Brigadefrom Pea Ridge to Vicksburg. By Phillip Thomas Tucker. (Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993. Pp. xxvi, 271. $27.95.) There is no doubt that the Missouri brigade established a Civil War combat record equaled by few and surpassed by none. Whether it was indeed "the 258CIVIL WAR HISTORY South's finest" is, however, debatable, as are most superlatives in dealing with history. Nevertheless, there can be no legitimate argument that Confederate Missourians did not excel on most every major battlefield in the transMississippi and western theaters of the war. Originating in the tumultuous intrastate struggle in Missouri, the brigade spent most of the war orphaned from its home state. Suffering their bloody baptism of fire in Missouri, in such conflicts as Wilson's Creek, they were forced to retreat to Arkansas where they fought heroically in a losing effort at Pea Ridge. The brigade was never to fight again in Missouri. The brigade increased its reputation as a crack unit at the battles of Iuka and Corinth and reaped further glory at Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Champion Hill, and during the Vicksburg siege. At Champion Hill, under the leadership of division commander and fellow Missourian John Bowen, one of the Confederacy 's finest combat generals, the brigade almost won the most significant battle to that point in the western theater. Lack of reinforcements forced the Missourians to retreat after breaking the Union line. The brigade continued its spectacular career in Georgia, earning much praise during the Atlanta campaign. Like other units in the Nashville campaign of 1 864, the Missouri brigade was decimated by John Bell Hood's illadvised , suicidal attack at Franklin and by his blundering strategy at Nashville. The remnants of the brigade spent the last few months of the war assisting in the defense of Mobile. Both the volumes under review (Tucker will complete his study of the brigade in a forthcoming volume) do a good job in assessing the turbulent political...