Book Review: The Collapse of Price's Raid: The Beginning of the End in Civil War Missouri


by Mark A. Lause

Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri, 2016. Pp. xiii, 262. Notes, Biblio., index. $32.95. ISBN: 0826220258

The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah in Missouri

Prof. Lause (McMicken), the author of A Secret Society History of the Civil War, Free Labor: the Civil War & the Making of the American Working Class, Race and Radicalism in the Union Army and many other works on the class, society, and the Civil War, gives us an account of Confederate general Sterling Price’s 12,000-strong mounted raid into Union held Missouri in September and October of 1864, a follow-up to his earlier Price’s Lost Campaign: The 1864 Invasion of Missouri, .

The raid, essentially intended to influence the coming presidential elections in the North, as Union forces in Missouri were thinly spread to cope with widespread partisan activity in the state, initially went well. But it soon turned sour, due to poor preparations – Price’s troops were short of arms, equipment, horses, and even training – while the expected support from what was believed to be a vast reservoir of secessionist Missourians failed to materialize, in part because there wasn’t a large number of Confederate sympathizers in the state (a flaw of Confederate planning that had been made earlier during campaigns in Kentucky and Maryland), and in part due to harsh treatment the invaders meted out the uncooperative civilians, as well as the rather rapid Union response, which brought additional troops into action even as those already in the state concentrated to cope with the invasion.

As a result Price turned from invader to fugitive, ultimately escaping after an epic trek of some 1,400 miles, with the loss of half his men. Lause tells the story well, with some good battle pieces, insightful profiles of several officers, most notably Price and his principal Union opponent Samuel R. Curtis, and some good political and military analysis.

An excellent work in many ways, anyone unfamiliar with the geography of Missouri the state will find that the principal flaw of The Collapse of Price’s Raid is its lack of maps, making it difficult to follow movements across the state, and to better understand some of the engagements. Nevertheless, the seasoned student of the Civil War will find this of considerable interest.

Note: The Collapse of Price’s Raid, a volume in the UMP series “Shades of Blue and Gray", is also available as an e-Book, $32.95, ISBN 978-0-8262-7321-5


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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