The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 164
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ceives particular stress in the present work, however, is the pres-
sure from New England proponents of the belief, fostered by F. L.
Olmsted before the war, that colonization should be employed to
make Texas into a vast source of cotton produced by free labor.
On the whole Professor Johnson presents a convincing case,
though the documents and the trend of events late in 1863 oblige
him to fall back upon the military convictions of Henry W.
Halleck as crucial in the final decision to undertake the cam-
paign. The intense interest in Red River cotton he treats rather
too obliquely but with commendable avoidance of the tempta-
tion to represent the expedition as a gigantic cotton raid.
The body of Professor Johnson's book is devoted to a full-scale
recounting of the Red River and Camden campaigns. To sum-
marize his chapters here would serve little purpose, for they do
not differ in main outline from other informed accounts nor are
they, for that matter, conspicuously rich in novel detail. They
are to be cordially welcomed, however, as the first really good and
reasonably thorough narrative of the events in both Louisiana
and Arkansas. Relying upon ample information viewed with a
proper scholarly blend of curiosity and detachment, Professor
Johnson has put together a fine story, sensibly proportioned, well
mapped, and written with clarity and pace. Especially praise-
worthy in comparison with previous work are the chapters on
operations in Arkansas and on the Federal withdrawal down Red
River to Alexandria and thence to the Atchafalaya.
Professor Johnson's judgments of men and events are in the
main distinctly orthodox. He sides with Richard Taylor in con-
demning Kirby Smith's decision after Pleasant Hill to march the
bulk of the Confederate infantry to Arkansas, suggesting on the
basis of Taylor's maneuvers at Monett's Ferry that had he had all
the troops he might well have destroyed the Federal army and
forced the demolition of the Federal fleet. The reviewer, perhaps
unduly impressed by mere digits on paper, is not persuaded that
the greatest possible Confederate concentration on Red River
would have been enough to overcome the Federal superiority in
numbers and equipment.
The critic looking for imperfections in Red River Campaign
will not be entirely defeated. Manuscripts and newspapers have
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/190/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.