The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The Civil War deeply divided Arkansas. The majority of Arkansans believed
that their way of life was no longer secure in the Union and voted, rather reluc-
tantly, to secede, but there was considerable dissent, as reflected in the strength
of the Arkansas Peace Society in the mountain counties. Confederate conscrip-
tion, impressment of slaves, and consumption of material resources brought
about changes in the state's society. Some of these were lasting; others disap-
peared once the war ended.
Reconstruction began in Arkansas before the war ended, as a loyal Union gov-
ernment was established in early 1864. The conservatives returned to power
once the war was over, but the unionists regained control during congressional
reconstruction. The conservatives once again returned to power in 1874. In-
deed, Moneyhon concludes that there was much continuity in the period: "the
same group-even the same individuals-who had been on top in 186o re-
mained to a large extent the masters in 1874" (p. 269).
Students of both southern and national history will welcome Moneyhon's
study. The research is sound, and excellent maps and informative tables en-
hance the text. Texas readers will regret that the author makes no mention of
the major contributions thousands of Texans made to the defense of the state
during the war, but perhaps that was outside the scope of the study. The bibliog-
raphy lists all primary materials consulted, but only a general note is devoted to
secondary sources.
Lamar University RALPH A. WOOSTER
The Life and Wars of GideonJ. Pillow. By Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. and Roy P.
Stonesifer Jr. (Chapel Hill; University of North Carolina Press, 1993. Pp.
xvii+455. Preface, acknowledgments, maps, photographs, epilogue, appen-
dix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-80782-107-1. $34-95.)
How reassuring it is to discover that revisionism has its limits! Historians accus-
tomed to lampooning Gen. Gideon J. Pillow (18o6-1878) as the most incompe-
tent of James K. Polk's political brigadiers in the Mexican War and as a
Confederate disaster in the Civil War need not fear this well-researched, nicely
written, and badly needed scholarly biography. Hughes and Stonesifer objective-
ly report Pillow's better moments, such as his tactical competence at Contreras,
his accomplishments in organizing defenses and military production while com-
mander of the Provisional Army of Tennessee in 1861, and his replenishing de-
pleted Confederate ranks in 1863, when as head of the Volunteer and Conscript
Bureau of the Army of Tennessee he used heavy-handed methods to round up
stragglers, deserters, and new recruits. They find him intrepid in battle and dis-
miss John Breckinridge's charge that Pillow cowered behind a tree at Murfrees-
boro. They argue that he demonstrated strategic insight in 1861 when he urged
a Confederate invasion of and concentration in Missouri followed by an advance
on St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois. They believe that his last-minute "Dunkirk" (p.
234) proposal might have averted Confederate disaster at Fort Donelson. Their
overall portrait, however, presents a petty, petulant, and pretentious braggart

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/. Accessed December 19, 2014.