Osprey Publishing has issued Volume 25 of their “Raid” series, this one entitled Ride Around Missouri: Shelby’s Great Raid 1863. Written by former archaeologist and now full-time writer Sean McLachlan, the book covers a daring raid into Missouri by the Confederate Iron Brigade cavalry under famed leader Jo Shelby. Shelby, a devout pro-secessionist, had fought and killed Kansas “Jayhawkers” before the Civil War, and had served in some of the earliest battles in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. He had never forgot his passion for Missouri, however, and itched at a chance to lead a raid into the state to liberate it from Yankee rule. Governor-in-exile Thomas Reynolds and other Confederate officials were titular only, because the state had never seceded from the Union, and Federal troops maintained firm control over most of the state. Shelby hoped to change that.
In July 1863, the war news was discouraging for most Southerners — Vicksburg had surrendered; the Mississippi River was under Federal control; Robert E. Lee had lost a major battle in Pennsylvania at Gettysburg; and none of the border states had joined the Confederacy. Federals pushed deep in Arkansas and seized Little Rock. Shelby launched his raid to disrupt the oncoming Yankees. After several small engagements, Shelby managed to break through pursuing Federals and ride back into the Confederacy.
McLachlan gives a thorough overview of the strategic situation, the troops involved in the raid, some insight into Jo Shelby’s personality and previous experience, and the Northern (and Southern) reaction to the daring incursion. Lavishly illustrated, like all Osprey books, Ride Around Missouri includes an array of vintage period photographs, original maps commissioned for the book, bird’s-eye views, first-person accounts drawn from primary sources, and the usual excellent color illustrations of men, uniforms, equipment, and events.
The book is 80 pages, including the index and bibliography. It’s a useful addition to your wargaming or Civil War library. It is available at leading hobby retailers, book dealers, and on the Internet direct from Osprey or via amazon.com.
Ride Around Missouri: Shelby’s Great Raid 1863
Osprey Publishing, October 2011