In the treacherous swamps of southeast Missouri, a different kind of Civil War was waged.
Meriwether Jeff Thompson was one of the most intriguing but least-known Missouri participants in the Civil War. He and his troops traveled fast and light to harass Union forces, materializing out of the countryside to surprise the enemy and evading the traps set for them by Northern commanders. Early in the war, Union General Ulysses S. Grant gave Thompson the name “Swamp Fox” for his exploits in the Bootheel region. This book now tells his story—an adventure that will be appreciated by readers of all ages. Doris Mueller has produced a meticulously researched account of Thompson’s life, from his Virginia boyhood and early successes to his wartime exploits and postwar life. When the war began, Thompson left his adopted city of St. Joseph—where he had served as mayor—to fight for the Confederacy. He was elected brigadier general in the First Military District of Southeast Missouri and led poorly equipped and loosely trained men in skirmishes and raids, often using guerrilla tactics. He was captured in August 1863. After being released twelve months later in a prisoner exchange, he joined Sterling Price’s ill-fated raid into Missouri. After the war, he was one of the first Southern leaders to seek reinstatement as a U.S. citizen and worked to allay hostilities among fellow Southerners.
Thompson was also known as the “Poet Laureate of the Marshes,” and Mueller includes numerous excerpts from his writings about his experiences. Her account not only provides a wealth of little-known biographical details about this important Missourian but also offers insight into the state’s unique experiences during that bloody era, personalizing events through the life of this brave soldier.
Scorned by the Northern press for impudence, but beloved as a leader by his men, Thompson was courageous in battle, often to the point of recklessness, making him a constant thorn in the side of Union forces; after the war he was an oft-maligned model for reconciliation. Doris Mueller’s recounting of his life is an action-adventure story that will delight readers as it attests to his important role in Missouri’s heritage.
Chronicles the World War II experiences of the author
This book chronicles the World War II experiences of the author, who served as a Marine Corps pilot in the South Pacific. Colonel McEniry describes the organization and deployment of a Marine dive-bombing squadron (VMSB-132) in the early days of the war and follows the squadron through its actions in November and December of 1942.
The participation by the squadron in the naval battle of Guadalcanal, November 12-15, 1942, is related in detail and includes the personal experiences of the author on several bombing missions. This battle, described by Admiral Ernest J. King, the Chief of Naval Operations, as “the fiercest naval battle ever fought,” resulted in the loss by the Japanese of two battleships, ten transport ships, and numerous cruisers and destroyers.
About two o'clock in the morning Col. Heintzelman, chief of staff of the corps, came out and he was much pleased with what the division had accomplished and with the way they had gone through. It was the division's first battle and it played a very important and creditable part. Certain things fell down. . . . The truth of the matter is the troops got away from the wire and it was impossible to keep the wire up through the tangle of barbed wire and woods. We captured 3,000 prisoners on our front alone and have lost 521.
November 1, 1918Considerable heavy artillery fire all night. The preparation fire went down promptly at 3:30, it was very heavy. . . . The barrage went down promptly at 5:30. Troops jumped off. At 7:30 thirty prisoners reported from Le Dhuy Fme., taken by the 353rd and 354th infantries. I don't understand what the 353rd Infantry is doing in there, as it is out of the sector. At 7:00 a.m. there was a distinct lull in the artillery fire. . . . I told Hanson at 8:05 to move his troops forward to parallel 86 immediately. He stated that he would get them going about 8:30, but actually did not get them started until about eleven o'clock. I sent for him on arrival and told him to hurry his men up. Before Lee left I had ordered the divisional reserve to move forward with its advance element on the first objective to maintain their echelonment in depth. Smyser came in at one o'clock and I ordered the divisional machine guns to the front to take position about one-half kilometer east of Dhuy Fme. At the time the reserves were ordered forward. I ordered Hanson to take his P.C. to Dhuy Fme. . . . Hanson has just arrived. I do not understand why he is always so slow. He seems to be inordinately stupid.
During America’s participation in World War I, 1917–1918, only a single commander of a division, William M. Wright, is known to have kept a diary. In it, General Wright relates his two-month experience at St. Mihiel and especially the Meuse-Argonne, the largest and most costly battle in American history. In the Meuse-Argonne, the Eighty-ninth Division, made up of 28,000 draftees from Missouri and Kansas and under Wright’s command, was one of the two American point divisions beginning November 1, 1918, when the U.S. First Army forced the German defenders back to the Meuse River and helped end World War I as the main German railway line for the entire Western Front came under American artillery fire. It was a great moment, and Wright was at the center of it. Robert Ferrell skillfully supplements the diary with his own narrative, making use of pertinent manuscripts, notably a memoir by one of Wright’s infantry regiment commanders.
The diary shows the exacting attention that was necessary to keep such a large, unwieldy mass of men in motion. It also shows how the work of the two infantry brigadiers and of the two supporting artillery brigades required the closest attention. Meuse-Argonne Diary, a unique account of, among other things, a singular moment in the Great War in which American troops ensured victory, will fascinate anyone interested in military history in general and World War I in particular.
Recounts the social, racial, and political dramas that attended the deployment of a major Deep South infantry division, both at home and abroad
Chris Rein’s study of the Thirty-First Infantry Division, known officially as the “Dixie Division,” illuminates the complexities in mobilizing American reserve units to meet the global emergency during World War II. Citizen soldiers from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi formed the core of one of the ninety infantry divisions the Army successfully activated, trained, equipped, and deployed to defeat fascism in Europe and race-based imperialism in the Pacific. But the Army mobilized ideas along with manpower, and soldiers from across the Jim Crow South brought their racial ideas and views with them into the ranks and then exported these across the South Pacific. If the American victory in World War II represents a “double victory” over racism abroad and at home, the division’s service is a cogent reminder that the same powerful force could pull in opposite directions.
While focused on the division’s operational service during the war years, Mobilizing the South: The Thirty-First Infantry Division, Race, and World War II spans the division’s entire service from 1917 to 1967, from an interwar period highlighted by responses to natural disasters and facing down lynch mobs through a postwar service that included protecting activists in the most important struggles of the civil rights era. But the division’s extended service as a training establishment highlights lingering resentments and tensions within the American military system between the active and reserve components. Despite this, the division performed well in General Douglas MacArthur’s island-hopping campaign across the South Pacific. Using official records as well as details drawn from correspondence and oral histories, Rein captures how individual soldiers framed their exposure to a larger world, and how service alongside African American, New Guinean, and Filipino units both reinforced and modified views on race and postwar American society.
The Strategic Victory that Established the Continental Army as a True Fighting Force
The battle of Monmouth Court House, New Jersey, is among the most important battles in the history of the American Army. Well known in American mythology as the battle where Molly Pitcher fought alongside her fallen husband, Monmouth Court House is regarded by historians as the moment when the image of the American army in both Europe and the colonies was transformed from that of a rag-tag band of ill-trained civilians to that of a disciplined, well-guided, professional military unit. In June 1778, British General Henry Clinton’s army evacuated Philadelphia and struck out across “the Jerseys” on its way back to New York City. George Washington’s Continental Army, retrained and confident after enduring a winter at Valley Forge and supplemented by a large number of fresh New Jersey militia, marched in pursuit. About 50 miles south of New York City, the armies clashed at Monmouth Court House on June 28, in the last major Revolutionary War battle in the north. Essentially a draw, the battle marked the first time in the war that the Continental Army was able to hold a battlefield, fighting the full force of the British army to a standstill. Monmouth Court House: The Battle that Made the American Army by Joseph G. Bilby and Katherine Bilby Jenkins is the story of this battle, how it came to be, and its influence on the course of the war and American history.
The authors set Monmouth Court House within the context of the American Revolution and the civil war between Tories and Whigs that erupted in New Jersey during that time. The entire campaign and battle are described, including an analysis of the commanders, personnel, organization, training, and weapons of both armies. The book also assesses the historiography and folklore of the battle, including the story of the real “Molly Pitcher,” the use of the battleground as Civil War muster-in camp, its eventual status as Monmouth Battleground State Park, and current efforts at interpretation and battlefield archaeology and how they have changed our understanding of the battle.
Different forms of city government are in widespread use across the United States. The two most common structures are the mayor-council form and the council-manager form. In many large U.S. cities, there have been passionate movements to change the structure of city governments and equally intense efforts to defend an existing structure. Charter change (or preservation) is supported to solve problems such as legislative gridlock, corruption, weak executive leadership, short-range policies, or ineffective delivery of services. Some of these cities changed their form of government through referendum while other cities chose to retain the form in use.
More than Mayor or Manager offers in-depth case studies of fourteen large U.S. cities that have considered changing their form of government over the past two decades: St. Petersburg, Florida; Spokane, Washington; Hartford, Connecticut; Richmond, Virginia; San Diego, California; Oakland, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; Topeka, Kansas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Portland, Oregon. The case studies shed light on what these constitutional contests teach us about different forms of government—the causes that support movements for change, what the advocates of change promised, what is at stake for the nature of elected and professional leadership and the relationship between leaders, and why some referendums succeeded while others failed. This insightful volume will be of special interest to leaders and interest groups currently considering or facing efforts to change the form of government as well as scholars in the field of urban studies.
Few events in the history of the American Far West from 1846 to 1849 did not involve the Mormon Battalion. The Battalion participated in the United States conquest of California and in the discovery of gold, opened four major wagon trails, and carried the news of gold east to an eager American public. Yet, the battalion is little known beyond Mormon history. This first complete history of the wide-ranging army unit restores it to its central place in Western history, and provides descendants a complete roster of the Battalion's members.
By June 1953 the Korean War, marked at the outset by extremely fluid advances and retreats up and down the peninsula, had settled into position warfare very near the original pre-war demarcation line between North and South Korea. At this point both sides were fighting to win a peace, to achieve incremental advantages that could be translated into gains at the peace negotiations in Panmunjom. These last days of the war saw savage battles for control of important local terrain features, and in the trench warfare of the Chorwon Valley a young U.S. Army lieutenant was assigned to lead an infantry company charged with holding Outpost Harry against a determined Chinese assault.
The battle devolved into hand-to-hand combat during a period of constant, intense fighting that lasted two days. The author, although seriously wounded that night, refused evacuation and remained on the hill to successfully lead his company in defense of the outpost. It wasn’t romantic; it wasn’t chivalrous; and many died or were badly wounded. Some of the survivors never fully overcame the mental and physical damage they suffered during the nightmare.
With this book, one of those scarred by that experience recounts the events of the battle and his lifelong efforts to deal with the residual horrors. The Korean Conflict may be called “the forgotten war” by some, but not by those who were on the front lines.
My Father’s War tells the compelling story of a unit of Buffalo Soldiers and their white commander fighting on the Italian front during World War II.
The 92nd Division of the Fifth Army was the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during 1944 and 1945, suffering more than 3,200 casualties. Members of this unit, known as Buffalo Soldiers, endured racial violence on the home front and experienced racism abroad. Engaged in combat for nine months, they were under the command of southern white infantry officers like their captain, Eugene E. Johnston.
Carolyn Ross Johnston draws on her father’s account of the war and her extensive interviews with other veterans of the 92nd Division to describe the experiences of a naïve southern white officer and his segregated unit on an intimate level. During the war, the protocol that required the assignment of southern white officers to command black units, both in Europe and in the Pacific theater, was often problematic, but Johnston seemed more successful than most, earning the trust and respect of his men at the same time that he learned to trust and respect them. Gene Johnston and the African American soldiers were transformed by the war and upon their return helped transform the nation.