The Red River Campaign of 1864 and the Loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War


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About the Book

The Union Army’s Red River Campaign began on March 12, 1864, with a two-pronged attack aimed at gaining control of Shreveport, Louisiana. It lasted until May 22, 1864, when, after suffering significant casualties, the Union army retreated to Simmesport, Louisiana. The campaign was an attempt to prevent Confederate alliance with the French in Mexico, deny supplies to Confederate forces, and secure vast quantities of Louisiana and Texas cotton for Northern mills.
With this examination of Confederate leadership and how it affected the Red River Campaign, the author argues against the standard assumption that the campaign had no major effect on the outcome of the war. In fact, the South had—and lost—an excellent opportunity to inflict a decisive defeat that might have changed the course of history. With this campaign as an ideal example, the politics of military decision-making in general are also analyzed.

About the Author(s)

Colonel Michael J. Forsyth (U.S. Army) formerly commanded the 196th Infantry Brigade and now serves as chief of staff of the Alaskan Command. He writes articles for Gettysburg Magazine, Field Artillery Journal, Small Wars Journal and Military Review.

Bibliographic Details

Michael J. Forsyth
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: 13 photos, 14 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4499-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1572-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Introduction      1

1 A Lost Opportunity?      7
2 The Antagonists      24
3 Pressure in Both Camps      40
4 “10,000 Damned Gorillas”      53
5 “The State of Things … Was Very Discouraging”      68
6 Three Wasted Opportunities      89
7 “A Protecting Shield”      109
8 “This Fatal Campaign”      119

Appendix 1: Campaign Chronology      129
Appendix 2: Order of Battle      133
Appendix 3: Maps      139
Notes      155
Bibliography      171
Index      177

Book Reviews & Awards

“thorough examination…well researched…informative…very useful”—The Civil War News; “concerns the might-have-beens of the Red River Campaign…provocative thesis”—Blue & Gray; “recommended”—Colorado Libraries.