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Many people may not realize that the Ozarks were a volatile region during the Civil War, but according to The New York Times, the Battle of Carthage was "the first serious conflict between the United States troops and the rebels."
In writing Civil War in the Ozarks, the late Phillip W. Steele and Steve Cottrell extensively researched the battles on the western front that took place between 1861 and 1865. They looked at the heroes, outlaws, and peacemakers who influenced the role the Ozarks played in the war between the states. Both are noted researchers on Civil War and Ozarks history from Arkansas and Missouri.
In the Ozarks, skirmishes between the abolitionist Kansas Jayhawkers and slaveholders in Arkansas and Missouri had begun years before Fort Sumter was fired upon. The neutral citizens of Missouri, who later joined in the fight for reasons of self-defense or vengeance, were often caught in the crossfire of raids between the two groups. Relocated Indian tribes of present-day Oklahoma-the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Creek-were part of the violence. Some joined the Union or Confederate armies, while others acted as frontier renegades against western expansion. The great divisions of the Ozark people were as extensive as those of the whole country. The factions and fighting made the Ozarks one of the bloodiest regions during the Civil War.
Ozark residents, Cottrell, and formerly Steele, chronicled the bloody and fearsome events of the westernmost front. Steele is the author of several books on the Ozarks and the Wild West, including Jesse and Frank James: The Family History (pb), Starr Tracks: Belle and Pearl Starr (pb), The Last Cherokee Warriors (pb), Ozark Tales and Superstitions (pb), and Outlaws and Gunfighters of the Old West (pb/audiocassette), all published by Pelican. He passed away on November 8, 2007.
Cottrell is a Civil War historian who has participated in battle re-enactments including those used in scenes of the Oscar-winning movie Glory. He is also coauthor of Civil War in Texas and New Mexico Territory (pb), published by Pelican.
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Western writer Phillip W. Steele serves as president of the National Outlaw and Lawman History Association and is a member of the Western Writers of America. Steele's other books include The Many Faces of Jesse James, Jesse and Frank James: The Family History, and Outlaws and Gunfighters of the Old West. All are published by Pelican.From Library Journal:
Abolitionists and proslavery forces were fighting in the Ozarks before the Civil War, though it came under Union control in 1862. The skirmishes thereafter between Union garrisons and Confederate raiders were more for supplies than territory. In this short history, Steele, an author of Wild West history, and Cottrell, a Civil War historian, mingle battlefield narratives with anecdotal history about Quantrill's Raiders and the lives of Jesse James and other Ozark outlaws spawned by the violence. Scholars will want to go elsewhere for more exhaustive research, but the lay reader interested in the area should enjoy this title. A chapter on buried treasure and weapons in the Ozarks whets the appetite for more. The narrative is laced with potboiler adjectives and occasional bias (Yankees are bad, Confederates are good), but that's part of the fun. Several photographs are credited as reenactments. For regional collections.
- Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svces., North Billerica, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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