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Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War Paperback – August 4, 1999


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Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War + One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era) + Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink: Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs from the Red River Campaigns, 1863-1864 (Voices of the Civil War)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press (August 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0873384865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0873384865
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,590,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brett R. Schulte on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nearly fifty years after the book was first written, by most accounts Ludwell Johnson's Red River Campaign: Politics & Cotton in the Civil War remains the best overall treatment of the subject. Johnson covers Nathaniel P. Banks' abortive effort to move northwest along the Red River in an effort to reach Shreveport, Louisiana. Frederick Steele would take a force from Little Rock, Arkansas south in a supporting role. Ostensibly, this was all in preparation for an advance into Texas.

As the title suggests, Johnson's study takes a look at the reasons why the Red River Campaign was launched in the first place, and these reasons had little to nothing to do with what made sense as far as strictly military objectives go. He repeatedly stresses this point throughout the book. Although this is also a fine campaign study, Johnson's coverage of "politics & cotton" adds an extra dimension to this book. His first few chapters deal with the reasons behind the campaign. One of the two main reasons behind this advance was to obtain a foothold in Texas so that free staters could flood the state in a move similar to what was done in Kansas in the 1850's. Northern abolitionists and other groups hoped to create "five or six" free states out of the current massive slave state. A corollary effect would have been to prevent any attempted European land grabs in the southern portions of the former United States. France had installed Maximilian as a puppet emperor of Mexico, and many Northern politicians feared that France would not stop there. The second reason involved cotton, the massive need for the crop in Massachusetts and other Northern mills, and the immense profits to be gain by speculators who were allowed to accompany the army.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Crawford on June 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Nearly 50 years after Red River Campaign,Politics & Cotton In The Civil War was first published, this is still the definitive book on the subject. Author Ludwell H.Johnson brings the battles and politics alive, he makes you feel as if you were there witnessing all of it. The book is precise and written so it is easy to read and follow. The bibliography section is fantastic. The battle lasted only eight days, but was one of the most destructive and bloody battles of the western theater. If you enjoy reading about the WBTS, the WBTS western theater, or politics and war in Louisiana during the WBTS than this book is for you. I highly recommend Red River Campaign,Politics & Cotton In The Civil War you will not be disappointed.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Fitzgerald on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written in 1958, Red River Campaign is one of the finest pieces of literature written on the Civil War. Also known as "one damn blunder from beginning to end", this book examines a somewhat forgotten campaign, one pursued by General Nathaniel P. Banks, a Lincoln political appointee and a soldier General Ulysses S. Grant had absolutely no use for.
Fought on the Red River throughout Central and Northwestern Louisiana, this campaign is a study in how partisan politics, economic need and personal profit determined military policy and operations in Louisiana and Arkansas during the spring of 1864. It is also a study in conducting military operations in a tactically useless theater of operations, an operation in which the Union Army was almost totally annihilated and one in which the Union River Navy was almost captured intact. Blunder does not begin to connote the foolishness of this campaign. It was a short operation, lasting from only March 12 to May 20, but wound up being one of the most destructive of the entire war.
Ludwell H. Johnson does a masterful job with his topic. The writing is clear and concise and the tale told is really quite amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Bowers on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wanting to learn more about the Trans-Mississippi Theater and it's campaigns I chose this book. Excellent read, gives you a wonderful view of the politics of the time and how they play into the decisions made.
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