James E. McGhee. Guide to Missouri Confederate Units, 1861-1865. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas PRess. (April 14, 2008). 240 pages., notes, index. ISBN: 978-1557288707 $34.95 (Hardcover w/DJ).
I received my copy of James McGhee’s Guide to Missouri Confederates not to long ago. Rather than do my usual book review, I’m going to try something different with this one soon. Look for a comparison of the book with Stewart Sifakis’ Missouri (et al) volume of Compendium of the Confederate Armies in the coming weeks. Until then, here’s the publisher’s information on the book from the University of Arkansas Press web site:
Guide to Missouri Confederate Units, 1861–1865
James E. McGhee
First-ever history of the Show Me State’s Confederate units
“This is an impressive reference work. It provides a detailed and extraordinarily accurate historical sketch of every Confederate army unit raised in Missouri.”
—Daniel Sutherland, University of Arkansas
“This well organized and authoritative reference work reflects years of painstaking research, verification of details, and extremely careful editing. It will prove highly useful to a variety of readers and scholars and Civil War enthusiasts interested in the many roles played by Missouri troops in the southern war effort.”
—T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University
Tracing the origins and history of Missouri Confederate units that served during the Civil War is nearly as difficult as comprehending the diverse politics that produced them. Deeply torn by the issues that caused the conflict, some Missourians chose sides enthusiastically, others reluctantly, while a number had to choose out of sheer necessity, for fence straddling held no sway in the state after the fighting began. The several thousand that sided with the Confederacy formed a variety of military organizations, some earning reputations for hard fighting exceeded by few other states, North or South. Unfortunately, the records of Missouri’s Confederate units have not been adequately preserved—officially or otherwise—until now.
James E. McGhee is a highly respected and widely published authority on the Civil War in Missouri; the scope of this book is startling, the depth of detail gratifying, its reliability undeniable, and the unit narratives highly readable. McGhee presents accounts of the sixty-nine artillery, cavalry, and infantry units in the state, as well as their precedent units and those that failed to complete their organization. Relying heavily on primary sources, such as rosters, official reports, order books, letters, diaries, and memoirs, he weaves diverse materials into concise narratives of each of Missouri’s Confederate organizations. He lists the field-grade officers for battalions and regiments, companies and company commanders, and places of origin for each company when known. In addition to listing all the commanding officers in each unit, he includes a bibliography germane to the unit, while a supplemental bibliography provides the other sources used in preparing this unique and comprehensive resource.
James E. McGhee is a retired lawyer from the Missouri Department of Labor and now devotes himself to the study of the Civil War. He has written and edited a number of books focusing on the war in his home state, including Missouri Confederates. He lives in Jefferson City, Missouri.
6 x 9, 240 pages, 22 photographs, index
$34.95 (s) cloth
ISBN 978-1-55728-870-7 | 1-55728-870-4
Special thanks to Tom Lavoie at the University of Arkansas Press.