One Damn Blunder From Beginning To End

( 2 )

Overview

In the spring of 1864, as the armies of Grant and Lee waged a highly scrutinized and celebrated battle for the state of Virginia, a no- less important, but historically obscured engagement was being conducted in the pine barrens of northern Louisiana. In a year of stellar triumphs by Union armies across the South, the Red River Campaign stands out as a colossal failure. General William Tecumseh Sherman's scathing summation describes it best, "One damn blunder from beginning to end." Taking its title from ...
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One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864

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Overview

In the spring of 1864, as the armies of Grant and Lee waged a highly scrutinized and celebrated battle for the state of Virginia, a no- less important, but historically obscured engagement was being conducted in the pine barrens of northern Louisiana. In a year of stellar triumphs by Union armies across the South, the Red River Campaign stands out as a colossal failure. General William Tecumseh Sherman's scathing summation describes it best, "One damn blunder from beginning to end." Taking its title from Sherman's blunt description, One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 is a fresh inspection of what was the Civil War's largest operation between the Union Army and Navy west of the Mississippi River. In a bold, but poorly managed effort to wrest Louisiana and Texas from Confederate control, a combined force of 40,000 Union troops and 60 naval vessels traveled up the twisting Red River in an attempt to capture the capital city of Shreveport. Gary D. Joiner provides not a recycled telling of the campaign, but a strategic and tactical overview based on a stunning new array of facts gleaned from recently discovered documents. This never-before-published information reveals that the Confederate army had laid a clever trap by engineering a drop in the water level of the Red River to try to maroon the Union naval flotilla. Only the equally amazing ingenuity of the Union troops saved the fleet from certain destruction, despite a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Mansfield. The Red River campaign had lasting implications. One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End magnifies just how devastating the diversion of so many men and so much material to this failed campaign was to the Union effort in the pivotal year of 1864. Because of the Union Army's failures, Northern plans to capture Mobile were scrapped. Military careers were made and lost. And at time when the Confederacy was teetering on the brink of oblivion, Southern morale was bolstered. Joiner puts together
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Editorial Reviews

Military Heritage
The reader of this fine and detailed monograph will agree with Sherman that the generally overlooked Red River campaign was 'one damn blunder from beginning to end.'
North and South
Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the Trans-Mississippi theater and 1864 campaigns in general.
Military History Of The West
Joiner's book is a well-written overview.
David Madden
Historians have seldom taken on the complex history of the unique and relatively unknown Red River campaign, perhaps because it is such a sprawling, swampy tangle of blunders on both sides. Writing in a clear and unembellished style, Gary Dillard Joiner scouts readers into that tangle and brings them out again not only illuminated, but exhilarated.
Stacy D. Allen
Even seasoned Civil War scholars know little about the all-but-forgotten Red River Campaign of 1864. With skillful research and an intimate understanding into the geopolitical dynamics of waging civil war in the Red River Valley, Gary Dillard Joiner provides a detailed and long-needed modern analysis of this controversial and sadly neglecetd campaign. The result is military history at its best.
Edwin Bearss
Historian and avid researcher Gary Dillard Joiner possesses a keen regional familiarity that enabled him to author a masterful narrative history of the 1864 Red River Campaign. This is one of the Civil War's major amphibious operations, and Joiner's appreciation of the river's vagaries, and his deep knowledge of naval vessels, riverboats, and personnel provide a special dimension.
Terrence J. Winschel
Uniquely qualified to write of this region with a level of intimacy seldom seen in Civil War historiography, Joiner demonstrates a deep appreciation for the geography of the region and a thorough understanding of the economic, social, and military complexities that make this story so fascinating. Richly spiced with photographs and maps, One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End will enthrall you.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780842029377
  • Publisher: Sr Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: American Crisis Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 855,129
  • Product dimensions: 0.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Dillard Joiner is instructor of history and director of the Red River Regional Studies Center at Louisiana State University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Strategic Positions prior to the Campaign Chapter 2 Confederate Defenses on the Red River, 1863-64 Chapter 3 Preparations Chapter 4 Anabasis Chapter 5 Through the Howling Wilderness Chapter 6 I Will Fight Banks If He Has a Million Men Chapter 7 The Safety of Our Whole Country Depends upon It Chapter 8 Steele's Dilemma Chapter 9 Katabasis Chapter 10 Colonel Bailey's Dam Chapter 11 Requiem for a Blunder
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2008

    Fantastic!

    A rare insight into some of the less discussed aspects of the Civil War. A must-resd for anyone seriously wanting to understand the bigger picture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    Very Good and Readable Account

    'One Damn Blunder From Beginning To End' provides a very readable, well-researched account of the Union's Red River Campaign of 1864. The writing tends to be a bit dry and lifelessly academic at times, though, and the author does seem to pander to political correctness at the very end of the book. The one point of historical accuracy I have with the content comes early in the reading on page 7 where the author indicates Union General Nathan Banks' first test of battle was against Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, which is not correct. Banks' acquired the nickname 'Commissary Banks' after his disastrous encounters with Jackson's forces during the Valley Campaign of 1862 which occurred prior to Cedar Mountain. Beyond that one issue, I found the book very informative and well written and I would definitely recommend it to any Civil War enthusiast interested in the details of the often-ignored Red River Campaign.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2003

    This book is one for your shelf

    I was looking for a book that covered this campaign and Gary Dillard Joiner provided the perfect text. It is thoroughly researched and offers a fine narrative style. I reccommend this book to anyone who wants to know about this portion of civil war history and enjoys the naval side of the conflict. Military history that leaves one much more richly illuminated because of the way it is told.

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