Sunday, May 23, 2010

Schmidt: "CIVIL WAR VETERANS AND UNION TROOP ORGANIZATIONS IN SOUTHEST MISSOURI"

While it is unclear how author Bob Schmidt specifically selected the "soldiers, partisans, and citizens" for his latest book Civil War Veterans and Union Troop Organizations in Southeast Missouri (Printed by Camp Pope Publishing, 2010), approximately 100 biographical sketches of Union and Confederate soldiers, militiamen, etc. from SE Missouri, ranging in rank from officers on down to privates, are included. The detail accorded to each varies with the information available, but the typical entry includes name, rank, dates of birth and death, burial site, a service history, and some family background (sometimes quite extensive). Reproduced official documents, orders, drawings, and photographs supplement the text. The biography section also frequently provides additional information about the unit(s) in which the subject served. Source notes are inserted within the text body, which can give heavily footnoted paragraphs a cluttered look, but that is something of a minor complaint for a non-narrative book format.

Following the biographies is a series of brief unit histories of Missouri State Militia and Enrolled Missouri Militia units, and other militias, independent companies, and regular formations native in part or whole to the region -- too many to list here. Organizational and military capsule histories are provided, as well as many roster lists.

The structure of the material's presentation, loaded as it is with supplemental and tangential information, is a bit haphazard, and the index is far from complete, marking it as a reference tool not designed for ease of use. However, Schmidt's compiled a large mass of information little known or appreciated outside of the region for researchers and genealogists to consider, if they are patient. The Civil War in SE Missouri is a vastly understudied region of the Trans-Mississippi, and the author is to be commended for his efforts.

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Schmidt's earlier book, Veterans and Events in the Civil War in Southeast Missouri, Volume II (The Camp Pope Bookshop, 2006 rep. ed.), is similar in design and appearance to the above volume, but more irregularly documented and without bibliography or index. Contents include (from the publisher): "Fresh research on another aspect of the Battle of Pilot Knob, concerning the execution of Major James Wilson and his men, the retaliation executions of the Confederates in St. Louis, and the planned retaliation execution of Major Enoch O. Wolf. Regimental history/roster of the 78th Enrolled Missouri Militia, which was comprised mostly of Ste. Genevieve and Perry County men. In depth information on John Koester, Charles Kannawurf, Charles Doerge, Anselm Stolzer and Leopold Naeger, who were immigrant Germans serving in the Civil War." Rosters of two companies of the 47th Missouri Vols. and Clardy's Battalion are included in the rear of the book.

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