A few weeks ago, I purchased a copy of Dr. Donald S. Frazier’s new book, Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of
Why did you decide to write a book about, and I'm quoting from the subtitle, “the Federal Invasion of
I wanted to write about a corner of the Civil War I thought was fascinating, poorly understood, and underrepresented in the literature. Plus, it is a darn fine story! It has all the elements of great human drama. Have been amazed when I have been out speaking—from
Too, it has been an ongoing quest of mine to discover why the Trans-Mississippi mattered in the war, what part
Were there any unique features to the campaigns featured in Fire in the Cane Field?
There were tons of interesting facets to these campaigns. In essence, both sides were trying to convince the citizens of both states to back their cause. The Union needed to prove that it would and could protect its citizens in the region, and that support for
Were there any soldiers that you wrote about who seemed to have a particular talent for adapting to the challenges presented by campaigning in the Trans-Mississippi? Were there any who seemed unable to adapt?
Richard Taylor emerges as a brilliant adapter, as does his staff. John Bankhead Magruder comes off as a pretty clever innovator as well. Of course, it’s easier for them—they had the biggest chore and if they succeeded, it looked brilliant! My other favorite, surprisingly, is Benjamin Butler. Here is a fellow who understood how to work the levers of politics as well as judicious application of military policy. He, I believe, is greatly underappreciated as an intellect. General Alfred Mouton seemed a little over his head to me, so I would put him in the “failed to adapt” category.
My understanding is that this is the first volume in a planned four volume set called the
This is book one of a four part series that will cover the war from secession to collapse in
Book one, Fire in the Cane Field, covers the secession drama in
Book two, Thunder Across the Swamps, covers the fight for control of the West Bank of the
And, by the way,
Book three will deal with
Book four will cover the Red River Campaign and its aftermath, and then the "rest of the story" in
IN THE MEANTIME, I am finishing up a collection of edited letters from a soldier in the 23rd Texas Cavalry, and later McMahan's