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Library Journal Review
Utilizing letters, diaries, and muster rolls, Jones traces the Civil War history of the Louisiana soldiers who served the Confederate army of northern Virginia from First Manassas to Appomattox. Their bravery and elan won them the sobriquet Louisiana Tigers, while their depredations made them notorious north and south. In describing the actions these troops participated in, Jones avoids general battle descriptions and depicts the role played by the Tigers . This provides a glimpse at the seamier side of the Civil War and shows how vicious and bitterly contested were many of the minor engagements. This important addition to Civil War and American history collections is highly recommended. Military Book Club alternate. George F. Scheck, Naval Underwater Systems Lib., Newport, R.I. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Based on dedicated research in primary materials, especially widely scattered manuscript collections, the combat history of about 12,000 Louisiana infantrymen who served in the eastern theater from 1861 to 1865 is retold here by Jones. Much of their experience was like that of soldiers from other states, but there were notable differences. Louisiana had a greater foreign-born population than any other Confederate state and this influenced its military history. The Irish, the largest group of foreign-born in the state, often rejected appeals to patriotism but enlisted because they could not find employment. Jones correctly concludes that ``The Louisiana Tigers were the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the Confederacy. They were drunken, lawless renegades who often posed a greater threat to the South's civilians than did the Yankees.'' They made a major military contribution, however, beginning with a defensive assignment at First Manasses and extending to offensive operations at Appomattox. Jones's effective prose, fair-minded assessments, colorful anecdotes, and frequent reminders of the horrors of combat make this an important study. The appendix gives detailed information on Zouaves and other units, but the book lacks maps. Jones fails to put battles into context, and neglects the record of the Tigers while on furlough. Nevertheless, a solid contribution highly recommended for libraries serving Civil War buffs and scholars.-G.T. Edwards, Whitman College