Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It

Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It by William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III published by University of North Carolina Press (2000)

After German immigrants essentially overthrew the pro-Confederate government in Missouri in 1861, they tried to expel all Confederate forces from the state. Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It tells the story of these radicalized immigrants and the Federal officials who supported them.

This is not a simple battle history, but a complex investigation of communities at war. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek lasted six hours, but the forces that drove 15,000 men there to slaughter one another had been gathering for years. William Garrett Piston and Richard Hatcher do an excellent job of dissecting the causes of the Civil War in Missouri, as well as the motives of soldiers from Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas who fought as allies of the contending armies from Missouri.

The writing is fine, the anecdotes are telling, and the analysis is first rate. All Civil War history should aspire to be this good.

Read more about the battle.

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About Patrick Young

Program Director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) and Supervising Attorney for the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. Blogs for Long Island Wins and New York State Immigrant Action Fund
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