Fire in the Cane Field – The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas January 1861-January 1863, Donald S. Frazier, State House Press, 2009
The first thing I want to say about this book is that it looks and feels like a good book should. The handsome high gloss cover and the feel of a sturdy binding give the reader confidence that if as much effort went into the inside as the presentation that they will be well rewarded. The editing seems almost flawless. I found just three obvious errors. The author is an accomplished wordsmith who guides the reader through the book with a smooth style and excellent eye for detail. The book is well illustrated and contains appropriate maps to support the narrative.
That is what the book is. There is also what the book is not. This is not a comprehensive detailed military history of the area. One of the largest battles in Louisiana during the time frame indicated in the title, Baton Rouge, gets passed over with just a paragraph while the Federal occupation of Milliken’s Bend is barely mentioned. Several lesser actions along the coast are described fully. The concentration of attention in this area leads me to believe that the title of the book overstates the contents. Coastal Louisiana and Texas are the focal points of this work. This is not to say that what is covered is not done so in excellent fashion.
The author also concentrates on the political machinations, military intrigues and the socio-economic impact of the war on this region. That which is covered is a wonderfully told tale. Overall this book will be a good addition to any Civil War library, just don’t expect a full accounting of the war in Louisiana and Texas during the title period.
Editor’s Note: sfcdan is the author of many fine Campaign Studies at the History Civil War forum.
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