Decisions of the Red River Campaign

The Fifteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Operation

  • Author(s): Lang, Michael S.
  • Series: Command Decisions in America's Civil War
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2025-01-17
  • Status: Not Yet Published - Will Back Order
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By the time of the Red River Campaign, which occurred between March 10 and May 22, 1864, Federal victory in the American Civil War was nearly assured. This final Union offensive in the trans-Mississippi theater was launched to capture Shreveport, a strategic river port and Confederate military complex. The fall of Shreveport would split Confederate forces, allowing the Federals to encircle and destroy the Confederate Army in western Louisiana and southern Arkansas as well as open a gateway to an invasion of Texas. But the dense piney woods and swamps of Louisiana made for difficult maneuvering, and both sides made severe tactical mistakes, leading General William Tecumseh Sherman to declare the Red River Campaign “one damn blunder from beginning to end.”

Decisions of the Red River Campaign explores the critical decisions made by Confederate and Federal commanders during the campaign and how these decisions shaped its outcome. Rather than offering a history of the operation, Michael S. Lang hones in on a sequence of decisions made by commanders on both sides of the contest to provide a blueprint of the campaign at its tactical core. Identifying and exploring the critical decisions in this way allows students of Civil War battles and campaigns to progress from a knowledge of what happened to a mature grasp of why events happened.

Complete with maps and a driving tour, Decisions of the Red River Campaign is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for a concise introduction to the campaign can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the campaign and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions of the Red River Campaign is the nineteenth in a series of books that explores the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

MICHAEL S. LANG, a resident of Frisco, Texas, has worked as a manager for FedEx for more than thirty-eight years and is also a successful photographer. Capturing images of Civil War battlefields is one of his favorite subjects. He is the author of two other books in the Press’s Decisions series: Decisions at Antietam and Decisions of the Maryland Campaign.