Saturday, August 22, 2009

Irregular Warfare in the Civil War

The always excellent Civil War Books and Authors blog has a long review of a book on irregular warfare during the Civil War:

Over the past few decades, our understanding of Civil War irregular warfare has been greatly enhanced by a number of excellent local and regional studies published in essay and book length format. However, until now, no scholar has attempted a broad scope examination of the subject on a national scale. The difficulties are legion. Definitions are murky, and individual motivations numerous as the stars and often confined to local conditions not easily explained or understood. At the time, neither side could agree on the legal state of a range of behaviors, and, consequently, the proper disposition of captured persons variously labeled as, among other terms, recruiting officers, raiders, bushwhackers, partisan rangers, jayhawkers, and guerrillas. At various times, both sides (with misgivings) actively promoted their use while at the same time seeking to deny the enemy the same privilege. One of the best known scholars attempting to make sense of this complex and messy subject is University of Arkansas professor Daniel E. Sutherland. His new book, A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War is the first modern study that examines irregular warfare spanning the continent, and how it shaped the character and conduct of the Civil War, the unintended consequences of which hastened Confederate defeat.

Another book added to the ever growing wish list.

Read the whole thing.

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