General Sterling Price and the Confederacy
by Thomas C. Reynolds, edited by Robert G. Schultz, University of Missouri Press
Although and the Confederacy exactly a new book, some war General Sterling Price is not buffs will undoubtedly find it a breath of fresh air. Originally written in 1867 by Missouri’s former Confederate governor, Thomas C. Reynolds, the manuscript was never completed, let alone published. In 1898 it was donated to the Missouri History Museum. Robert G. Schultz, who teaches at East Central College, recently looked it over and saw it as a gold mine of insights into the inner workings of Confederate political as well as military operations, complicated by the added difficulties of upholding the Cause in a state that by 1862 had been officially secured by the Union.
Given minimal editing but ample annotation by Schultz, it focuses on a controversial commander whose 1861 victory at Lexington, Mo., gained him a popular following, but whose failures in later campaigns brought a lot of criticism down on his head. Supplementing Reynolds’ manuscript, Schultz adds running correspondence between him and Price regarding that criticism.
This is by no means a biography or a history, as appreciating it requires a knowledge of the war in Missouri. Nor is it objective, since Reynolds makes clear his own unfavorable appraisal of Price. But as a primary document from a high-ranking participant, it should prove invaluable to scholars with an interest in the Trans-Mississippi.
Originally published in the October 2010 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.