Taking its title from Sherman's blunt description, One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 is a fresh inspection of what was the Civil War's largest operation between the Union Army and Navy west of the Mississippi River. In a bold, but poorly managed effort to wrest Louisiana and Texas from Confederate control, a combined force of 40,000 Union troops and 60 naval vessels traveled up the twisting Red River in an attempt to capture the capital city of Shreveport.
Gary D. Joiner provides not a recycled telling of the campaign, but a strategic and tactical overview based on a stunning new array of facts gleaned from recently discovered documents. This never-before-published information reveals that the Confederate army had laid a clever trap by engineering a drop in the water level of the Red River to try to maroon the Union naval flotilla. Only the equally amazing ingenuity of the Union troops saved the fleet from certain destruction, despite a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Mansfield.
The Red River campaign had lasting implications. One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End magnifies just how devastating the diversion of so many men and so much material to this failed campaign was to the Union effort in the pivotal year of 1864. Because of the Union Army's failures, Northern plans to capture Mobile were scrapped. Military careers were made and lost. And at time when the Confederacy was teetering on the brink of oblivion, Southern morale was bolstered.
Joiner puts together a compelling description of what was one of the most important military operations conducted west of the Mississippi. The fierce military action, the squabbling of the leaders on both sides, and most importantly, essential new knowledge of the Confederate defensive preparations are all contained in the pages of this new book.
Civil War buffs and military enthusiasts will revel in this in-depth look at this critical, but previously overlooked campaign.