Monday, December 13, 2010

"Lone Star Regiments in Gray"

Anyone perusing the notes of a modern study of Civil War Texas doesn't have to go too far before running into the works of Lamar University professor Ralph A. Wooster. The author of seven books and many dozens more journal articles and essays, he's a 'go to' scholar in many respects. For me, his most valuable book is the reference guide Lone Star Regiments in Gray (Eakin Press, 2002). The hardcover has been out of print for a few years now, but last time I looked it remained available in paperback format.

Texas supplied a whopping 53 cavalry regiments to the Confederate army, along with 24 infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, 4 artillery battalions, and 35 batteries. Divided into chapters by geographical region of service, all of these units are discussed by Wooster. He also elected to group many of them by brigade, instead of by the more common sequential presentation, a logical choice given that so many Texas regiments were afforded the unusual privilege of being able to serve together in the same brigade for the entire war. The capsule regimental histories are footnoted and provide basic organizational, leadership, and combat service information. Photos of prominent officers are present, as well as maps. While many of the regimental entries are quite lengthy, the book's artillery section is brief, with many batteries receiving only a single short paragraph. As so many Texas infantry and cavalry (mounted and dismounted) units, and nearly all the artillery, spent their entire Civil War careers in the Trans-Mississippi theater, the book is also a useful record of obscure formations. Wooster ends the book with an excellent bibliographical essay and index.

3 comments:

  1. This book is one of the most frequently used reference works on my shelf, partly because it has reliable and accurate information. It's a shame that many people interested in Texas units seem quite unaware of it--perhaps your posting will help change that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was also nice of him the acknowledge in the main text the heavy lifting done by the historians (like you) of these units.

    BTW, Jane, have you read the battery histories:

    "Douglas's Texas Battery, CSA" ed. and comp. by Lucia Rutherford Douglas (Waco: Texian Pr, 1966)

    and

    "Daniel's Battery: The Ninth Texas Field Battery" by John D. Perkins (Hillsboro: Hill College Pr, 1998)?

    Wooster mentions that the latter is a model study.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jane,
    I would bet his going with Eakin Press, with their spotty distribution and horrible website, has something to do with the book's obscurity.

    ReplyDelete

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