Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Confederate Guerrilla: The Civil War Memoir of Joseph Bailey

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Confederate Guerrilla: The Civil War Memoir of Joseph Bailey

Article excerpt

Confederate Guerrilla: The Civil War Memoir of Joseph Bailey. Edited by T. Lindsay Baker. (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2007. Pp. xix, 148. Series editors' preface by T. Michael Parrish and Daniel E. Sutherland, editor's preface, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $29.95.)

An addition to the Civil War in the West series from the University of Arkansas Press, Confederate Guerrilla is a fine example of the series' expressed goal of publishing "expertly edited correspondence, diaries, reminiscences, and other writings" that cover the Trans-Mississippi theater (p. vii). As redacted by renowned Civil War historian and museum curator T. Lindsay Baker, Bailey's story, with its updated spelling, punctuation, and corrected typos, reads well and moves along rapidly, helped by the fact that the original did likewise.

The book's introduction will be of interest to the general reader and historian alike. It describes Baker's long journey through Texas and Arkansas seeking to validate the accuracy and find the sources of the Bailey manuscript. Assisted by his wife, Julie, a fine historian and curator in her own right, Baker went from archive to archive, ultimately tracking down Bailey's great grandson, to illuminate the original account.

Baker was aided in his extremely well-documented presentation by having several versions of the Bailey story available. It had been partially published in Arkansas and Texas newspapers and in two unannotated book versions. The Civil War in the West offering makes up for any shortcomings in previous editions with Baker's copious notes, which reconcile the occasional differences between the various incarnations.

As an established footnote freak, this reviewer particularly recommends the fifty pages of notes complied by Baker (in a seventy-page presentation) as a work worth perusing on its own merits, which are many. Not only are numerous well-known and hitherto unknown persons and places identified (though Okolona, Mississippi, is erroneously called Okoloma [pp. 18,19]), but the intricacies of the consolidation of numerous Arkansas regiments Bailey served in during the war are detailed correctly. The notes and the lengthy bibliography are a treasure to anyone interested in the role of Arkansans in the war.

As Baker relates, Bailey's military career had much in common with those of other Confederate Arkansans. He and his brothers, over their Union-leaning parents' opposition, joined the state militia in 1861 and were present at Wilson's Creek, although their Fourth Regiment suffered little contact with the enemy. …

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