Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

One Drop in a Sea of Blue: The Liberators of the Ninth Minnesota

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

One Drop in a Sea of Blue: The Liberators of the Ninth Minnesota

Article excerpt

One Drop in a Sea of Blue: The Liberators of the Ninth Minnesota. By John B. Lundstrom. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012. Pp. [vi], 501. $29.95, ISBN 978-0-87351-821-5.)

This work is a narrative history of the men of the Ninth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry that covers the regiment's recruitment in August 1862, its garrison duty in Minnesota and Missouri, its part in the disastrous Union defeat at the battle of Brice's Crossroads in Mississippi, the experiences of about one-third of the regiment captured at that battle in Confederate prisons at Andersonville and eight other locations, the regiment's fruitless pursuit of Sterling Price in Missouri, its fine performance at the battle of Nashville, and its role in the capture of Mobile. John B. Lundstrom's primary motivation for writing a book about the Ninth Minnesota was the unusual effort of thirty-eight men of Companies C and K (one an ancestor of the author) stationed near Otterville, Missouri, to free the family of an escaped slave. These men, dubbed the liberators by the author, were asked by an escaped slave named John to stop the transport of ten of his relatives from Missouri to Kentucky. With the tacit permission of the captain of Company C, the men held the train the slaves were on at gunpoint when it stopped at the local station, ignored orders to halt the rescue effort from two officers on the train, and freed John's family. The men were arrested for their actions but were eventually released without court-martial.

Lundstrom, the author or coauthor of five books on the Pacific theater in World War II, has done extensive research in primary sources for this work, including pension files and other government documents, archival and published memoirs and letters, newspapers, and at least seventeen privately held collections. …

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