The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War

The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War 1022 The Journal of American History March 2018 Indiana support for the Union through the trans-Mississippi), revealing the ubiquity of viewpoint of Harrison County’s Republican the experience. Readers also see the breadth of state legislator, Walter Q. Gresham, whom activity that falls under the heading of irregular Rockenbach characterizes as opposing the war, from officially sanctioned Partisan Rang - ers to a nineteenth-century “warlord” in the state’s Republican governor out of “adherence mountains of north Georgia. The authors are to the interests of his border constituency,” alert to the contradictions and inconsistencies without providing the kind of detail that would of Confederate guerrilla service. The stories help him make his larger case (p. 70). In addi - here are not the romantic tales of Col. John tion to omitting information that would sub - S. Mosby’s derring-do that compelled V-irgin stantiate his thesis, Rockenbach makes a num - ia to honor a whole region of the state with ber of mischaracterizations and errors, although commemorative markers. Instead, we see how none are damning to his bigger arguments. the willingness of Richmond’s leaders to toler - That said, I admire Rockenbach’s ability ate irregular warfare violated the Confederacy’s to clarify complicated matters, while not los - claim to being a modern, law-abiding nation. ing important nuances: I am wiser for having We see how guerrillas sometimes worked at read War upon Our Border. For this reason, the odds with the professed goals of the Confed - book will be most valuable for historians well eracy. The ground-level resistance fomented versed in the region’s history. by guerrillas (which was sometimes targeted at Richard Nation other Confederates) challenges the notion of a Eastern Michigan University unified white South during the war. We see ad Ypsilanti, Michigan hoc Union policy, sometimes exacerbating and sometimes quelling guerrilla violence. doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax467 As the best essay collections do, this one raises questions that only future research and The Guerrilla Hunters:  Irregular Conflicts dur - debate can resolve: What was the relationship ing the Civil War. Ed. by Brian D. McKnight between the Confederacy’s Partisan Ranger bri - and Barton A. Myers. (Baton Rouge: Lo-uisi gades and the truly irregular units that plagued ana State University Press, 2017. xxii, 399 pp. so many communities? Military historians will $49.95.) need to assess whether guerrilla organizations sapped manpower from the regular armies that On rare occasions, essay collections gather could have made a difference in clashes with related research at a propitious moment and Yankees. Historians of the home front will find help redirect a fieldThe. Guerrilla Hunters is much of interest. Irregulars depended upon one of these jewels. One can only admire the networks of civilians to feed, clothe, shelter, care and precision with which the edit-ors as and conceal them. This, in turn, transformed sembled the volume. More importantly, the these civilians into something other than - non cumulative impact of the essays establishes combatants. Different Union commanders both the importance of irregular warfare to sanctioned different methods of dealing with broad histories of the Civil War and d-emon civilian supporters, but we have no typology strates how much new there is to learn about of Union policy or practice on this important the conflict. issue. Also, as several authors note, very little Because the volume includes fifteen essays, research has been done on how the chaotic ef - a thoughtful introduction, foreword, and con - fect of guerrillas shaped the process of emanci - clusion, plus a helpful biography, space con - pation. These topics only hint at the rich vein straints prohibit discussion of each essay or of ideas and arguments tapped by this volume. author. Instead, I will highlight the collective We would do well to continue the hunt. impact of the essays and highlight questions Aaron Sheehan-Dean they offer for the futur The e. Guerrilla Hunters Louisiana State University demonstrates the scope and diversity of irr - egu Baton Rouge, Louisiana lar war during the Civil War. The essays discuss all three theaters of war (eastern, western, and doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax468 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1022/4932645 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of American History Oxford University Press

The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War

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Abstract

1022 The Journal of American History March 2018 Indiana support for the Union through the trans-Mississippi), revealing the ubiquity of viewpoint of Harrison County’s Republican the experience. Readers also see the breadth of state legislator, Walter Q. Gresham, whom activity that falls under the heading of irregular Rockenbach characterizes as opposing the war, from officially sanctioned Partisan Rang - ers to a nineteenth-century “warlord” in the state’s Republican governor out of “adherence mountains of north Georgia. The authors are to the interests of his border constituency,” alert to the contradictions and inconsistencies without providing the kind of detail that would of Confederate guerrilla service. The stories help him make his larger case (p. 70). In addi - here are not the romantic tales of Col. John tion to omitting information that would sub - S. Mosby’s derring-do that compelled V-irgin stantiate his thesis, Rockenbach makes a num - ia to honor a whole region of the state with ber of mischaracterizations and errors, although commemorative markers. Instead, we see how none are damning to his bigger arguments. the willingness of Richmond’s leaders to toler - That said, I admire Rockenbach’s ability ate irregular warfare violated the Confederacy’s to clarify complicated matters, while not los - claim to being a modern, law-abiding nation. ing important nuances: I am wiser for having We see how guerrillas sometimes worked at read War upon Our Border. For this reason, the odds with the professed goals of the Confed - book will be most valuable for historians well eracy. The ground-level resistance fomented versed in the region’s history. by guerrillas (which was sometimes targeted at Richard Nation other Confederates) challenges the notion of a Eastern Michigan University unified white South during the war. We see ad Ypsilanti, Michigan hoc Union policy, sometimes exacerbating and sometimes quelling guerrilla violence. doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax467 As the best essay collections do, this one raises questions that only future research and The Guerrilla Hunters:  Irregular Conflicts dur - debate can resolve: What was the relationship ing the Civil War. Ed. by Brian D. McKnight between the Confederacy’s Partisan Ranger bri - and Barton A. Myers. (Baton Rouge: Lo-uisi gades and the truly irregular units that plagued ana State University Press, 2017. xxii, 399 pp. so many communities? Military historians will $49.95.) need to assess whether guerrilla organizations sapped manpower from the regular armies that On rare occasions, essay collections gather could have made a difference in clashes with related research at a propitious moment and Yankees. Historians of the home front will find help redirect a fieldThe. Guerrilla Hunters is much of interest. Irregulars depended upon one of these jewels. One can only admire the networks of civilians to feed, clothe, shelter, care and precision with which the edit-ors as and conceal them. This, in turn, transformed sembled the volume. More importantly, the these civilians into something other than - non cumulative impact of the essays establishes combatants. Different Union commanders both the importance of irregular warfare to sanctioned different methods of dealing with broad histories of the Civil War and d-emon civilian supporters, but we have no typology strates how much new there is to learn about of Union policy or practice on this important the conflict. issue. Also, as several authors note, very little Because the volume includes fifteen essays, research has been done on how the chaotic ef - a thoughtful introduction, foreword, and con - fect of guerrillas shaped the process of emanci - clusion, plus a helpful biography, space con - pation. These topics only hint at the rich vein straints prohibit discussion of each essay or of ideas and arguments tapped by this volume. author. Instead, I will highlight the collective We would do well to continue the hunt. impact of the essays and highlight questions Aaron Sheehan-Dean they offer for the futur The e. Guerrilla Hunters Louisiana State University demonstrates the scope and diversity of irr - egu Baton Rouge, Louisiana lar war during the Civil War. The essays discuss all three theaters of war (eastern, western, and doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax468 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1022/4932645 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018

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The Journal of American HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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