Iâ€™ve been working on my Battle at Bayou Cache article that is turning out nicely and I think I will submit it to some journals. I have been surprised by what I found and will have to take to task the scholarship of historian William L. Shea in an article he wrote about the battle. I am going to be presenting a very different picture of the battle and challenging several aspects of his article. But mostly, it is the treatment of the 11th Wisconsin Infantry that needs to be corrected. Really itâ€™s the lack of treatment as much as anything.
Iâ€™ve also been reading some very good books lately. Of a funny note, I had searched for a copy of the history of the 33rd Illinois for my research of Bayou Cache and accidentally ordered the history of the 33rd Iowa. I was glade I did. A. F. Sperryâ€™s History of the 33d Iowa Infantry Regiment 1863-5, (U of Ark. Press) edited by Gregory J. W. Urwin and Cathy Kunzinger Urwin, is one of the best I have read written by a member(s) of the regiment. Usually regimental histories written shortly after the war are choppy, uneven, and heavy handed. Sperryâ€™s writing reads like a narrative with keen insights and observations. Itâ€™s honest and refreshing and the editing is excellent.
I also read The Collapse of the Confederacy, edited by Mark Grimsley and Brooks D. Simpson. It is a series of articles addressing the various potential reasons for the outcome of the war. I find such books very interesting, but rarely helpful as they simply give us more questions that need answering than answers. There are some interesting questions that are addressed and provide for some good reading.
Finally, The American Civil War: The Emergence of Total Warfare, a book I am almost done with and will comment on later. For some reason I canâ€™t let go of the whole â€œtotal warâ€ debate.