The Trans-Mississippi Package
By James Durney
Have you ever looked west of the Mississippi River in 1861 & 8162? Yes, we have all read about Wilson’s Creek and Lyons in St. Louis. However, that is not the full story. If you have a vague itch to explore the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi, read on.
There are books that can scratch that itch. The better ones are:
- Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It by William Garrett Piston
- The Battle of Carthage: Border War in Southwest Missouri, July 5, 1861 by David C. Hinze & Karen Farnham might be the perfect small battle book. Years after reading the book, I took it to Carthage and recognized the important places with no problem.
- Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West by William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess, this is the best book on the biggest battle west of the Mississippi and should be required reading.
- Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign (Civil War America) by William L. Shea is a history of this important campaign that secured the victory at Pea Ridge.
- Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide, with a Section on Wire Road (This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil War) written by local experts, this is a combination guide and history that is well worth buying.
If you want to relive these battles and many others, HPS offers Civil War Battles: Campaign Ozark. The AI manages to do a fair to good job with small battles; I have had many enjoyable hours trying to take Bloody Hill, keep Blunt and Heron apart or capture Hindman’s supply train.
Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas, January 1861 January 1863 by Donald S. Frazier is outside of the area we have been discussing. However, this is an important new series on the war.
Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!
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