The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

In early December Hood advanced to face Thomas at Nashville. Yet Hood
could not cut off Union supply lines despite some success by his cavalry includ-
ing Ross's brigade. On December 15 Thomas attacked Hood, whose troops in-
cluding Granbury's men held on the Confederate right. The Federal advance
drove back a thinner line on the left, where Ector's men fell back to avoid being
flanked. A Union attack the next day broke the Confederate lines and forced
Hood to retreat, with Ector's brigade and Douglas's battery as part of the rear
guard. The author concludes with a brief discussion of the Texas units in 1865.
This volume is clearly written, with good quotations from accounts by Texas
soldiers. The author also employed most studies of the campaign by historians.
More use of Union accounts might have added further insight. The author be-
lieves the mistakes at Spring Hill cost the Confederates success, a conclusion
open to discussion. Another theme is that the Texans "never wavered" (p. 128)
through the campaign. What remains unclear is the number of Texans absent
without leave when other units faced that problem. This volume becomes the
best description of Texas Confederates in the Tennessee campaign of 1864 and
a generally sound beginning for a new author.
Texas Tech University Alwyn Barr
The Last Battle of the Civil War: Palmetto Ranch. By Jeffrey Wm. Hunt. (Austin: Uni-
versity of Texas Press, 2002). Pp. xiv+217. Acknowledgments, prologue, ap-
pendix, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-292-73461-1. $22.95, paper.)
The Final Fury: Palmito Ranch, The Last Battle of the Civil War. By Phillip Thomas
Tucker. (Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2001. Pp. ix+196. Acknowledg-
ments, preface, epilogue, endnotes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-8117-0652-
4. $26.95, cloth.)
On May 13, 1865, not far from the banks of the Rio Grande, six weeks after
Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox
Court House, the last land battle of the Civil War was fought in the Lower Rio
Grande Valley. Ironically the battle at Palmetto Ranch was a decisive Confeder-
ate victory. At long last, thanks to Jeffrey Hunt and Phillip Tucker, this engage-
ment has received the scholarly attention it richly deserves.
Tucker, chief historian at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and the
author of several books on the Civil War, and Hunt, chief curator of the Admiral
Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, deserve
credit for their fine, meticulous research. Although the authors did miss using a
few primary sources, they do mine the heretofore untouched, richly detailed,
and valuable court martial records in the case of Col. Robert G. Morrison, as
well as the regimental records from the 34th Volunteer Indiana Infantry and the
62nd United States Colored Infantry, the two principal Union units in the bat-
tle. Both authors also sift through various records to determine the exact casual-
ties of the battle. The two books contain excellent maps and both authors do a
good job of explaining the troop movements relating to the battle. Both books
are also well written. The Tucker book also contains an excellent set of pho-
tographs, mostly men from the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed October 1, 2014.