Saturday, 27 February 2016

Book Review: The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch

The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto RanchThe Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch by Jeffrey W. Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On May 12-13, 1865, a month after the surrender at Appomattox and when the Confederacy had all but disappeared east of the Mississippi, there was a final battle in Texas. Oddly enough, it was a Confederate victory, and the Battle of Palmetto Ranch has become part of the Civil War legend.
There are many incorrect beliefs about this battle, such as that the black Union troops broke and the rebels didn't know General Lee had surrendered. In fact, the 62nd USCT was the only Union unit that didn't break, and Texas newspapers had published details about Lee's surrender more than two weeks before the battle. The author even uncovered a letter from a rebel soldier posted at Palmetto Ranch, dated a few days before the fight, talking about Lee's surrender.
This is typical of the deep and detailed research that went into this book. Hunt studies the principal people involved, how the politics south of the border affected the war along the Rio Grande, and gives us insights into the trials and sufferings of the regular soldier. It also includes clear, detailed maps, something that so many military history books lack.
If you want an interesting, quick read on a famous but still somewhat obscure episode of the Civil War, this book is for you.

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