Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Favorite Reference Books

It’s been a shamefully long time since I last posted to this blog. Work demands and a fall break meant there was little time left in my days for blogging. So, it’s time to get back to posting!

While perusing my bookshelves the other day, I noticed three of my favorite trans-Mississippi reference works and decided that writing about them would be a good way to restart my blogging.

The oldest of the group is Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.’s Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units, 1861-1865 (1989). Regrettably, I never met Art in person, but he fielded some research queries related to a project that I was working on then. His Guide has a straightforward organization and brief historical sketches about each unit, a listing of officers, and a bibliography. Two appendices deal with independent companies and Louisiana volunteer state troops. Bergeron’s book has been an invaluable resource for me, and I have turned to it again and again.

The gaudy cover of Ralph A. Wooster’s Lone Star Regiments In Gray (2002) is unappealing to me, but the contents of the book are solid. Wooster’s book is organized into seven chapters with titles such as “Texas Cavalry in the Heartland” and “Texas Cavalry in the Trans Mississippi.” Many of the chapters are then further subdivided; for example, the trans-Mississippi chapter has sections about the Sibley-Green-Bagby Brigade, Hamilton P. Bee’s Division, and other units. There is a great deal of useful information in this well documented volume, and, as a bonus the author provided a lengthy annotated bibliography. I have never regretted purchasing this book!

James E. McGhee’s book, Guide to Missouri Confederate Units, 1861-1865 (2008) is modeled after Bergeron’s book with a similar organization and level of detail in the historical sketches. McGhee did a masterful job of piecing together information on military units whose histories have often confused scholars.

Now, we just need top-notch reference works about territorial units and Missouri’s Union regiments as well as ones dealing with Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, and Minnesota.   

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the action depicted in Zaboly prints can be a bit fanciful.