Academic journal article Military Review

Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It

Academic journal article Military Review

Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It

Article excerpt

WILSON'S CREEK: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It, William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1999, 408 pages, $37.50.

The battle of Wilson's Creek, which occurred early in the Civil War in southwest Missouri, is difficult to describe. The battle was actually two engagements fought simultaneously. A further complication is that Kansas and Missouri units fought on both sides of the Civil War and the battle, and at this early stage of the war, Union and Confederate soldiers wore blue as well as gray uniforms. Despite these inherent difficulties, William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III provide a readable account of this battle that resulted in a Union defeat and ensured that Missouri would be fought over for the next four years.

During their research, Piston and Hatcher unearthed a trove of original-- source material to document backgrounds, ideals and motives that brought the two armies to Wilson's Creek. A reader learns about participants' hometowns and intimate relationships between military units and their communities. A consistent theme in soldiers' correspondence is honor-not letting their towns be embarrassed by either the unit's or the individual's performance in battle. …

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