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Thunder Across the Swamp: The Fight for the Lower Mississippi, February 1863- May 1863

 Donald S. Frazier; State House Press

This second volume of Donald Frazier’s “Louisiana Quadrille” series establishes him as the premier chronicler of the war in the bayous, bottomlands and sawgrass prairies between the Sabine and Mississippi rivers. Frazier argues that “[c]ontrolling the west bank of the Mississippi was crucial to supporting Port Hudson and Vicksburg, and domination of the southern Louisiana bayous was key.” There the fighting turned more on topography than strategy. Most engagements were fought at isolated outposts: Fort Bisland, Irish Bend, Tiger Island, Vermillionville and Bayou Teche. Illustrations and maps help readers navigate this territory.

Frazier documents how rivalry between Generals Richard Taylor and Edmund Kirby-Smith hindered Rebel operations, and competition between Admirals David Porter and David Farragut kept the Union from exploiting its naval superiority. The region was also populated by unsung warriors like Major Hannibal H. Boone, leader of the 13th Texas Cavalry Battalion, and Lieutenant Squire Howard, who earned the Medal of Honor with the 8th Vermont Infantry.

Thunder Across the Swamp shows how “the banks that channeled the muddy drainings of millions of American acres became among the most critical geography on the continent for the outcome of the war.”


Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.