This Civil War memoir of Capt. Dennis E. Haynes is both unique and rare. Not only did few southern unionists write of their experiences after the war, Haynes’s is the only publication by a Louisiana unionist. Furthermore, it is the only account by a member of the First Louisiana Battalion Cavalry Scouts, a unit that existed for less than three months and saw its only real action during the Red River Campaign of 1864.
Haynes’s memoir is a historic collection of his wartime experiences as a unionist in the Confederate South. Among his writings, Haynes describes how he opposed the secession of Texas and thus became a hunted man. He also tells of his harrowing odyssey to reach Union troops in Louisiana. Every step of the way, Haynes provides details, sometimes graphic, of the harassment and cruelty he and many others like him suffered at the hands of his Confederate neighbors.
“This meticulously edited edition of a rare southern Unionist’s account will be welcomed by anyone interested in the trans-Mississippi theater or dissent during the Civil War. . . . Readers seeking insights into the social, military, and political underside of the Confederate experience will turn to this book with profit.”
—Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War
“[Haynes’s] spirited account of his experiences, along with the insightful context provided by editor Arthur Bergeron, reveals an internalized war dramatically at odds with our assumptions of both military and home front situations in this part of the trans-Mississippi South.”
—John C. Inscoe, coeditor of Enemies of the Country: New Perspectives on Unionists in the Civil War South
“The Civil War in the West has a single goal: to promote historical writing about the war in the western states and territories. It focuses most particularly on the Trans-Mississippi theater, which consisted of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, most of Louisiana (west of the Mississippi River), Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma), and Arizona Territory (two-fifths of modern day Arizona and New Mexico) but encompasses adjacent states, such as Kansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, that directly influenced the Trans-Mississippi war. It is a wide swath, to be sure, but one too often ignored by historians and, consequently, too little understood and appreciated.
Topically, the series embraces all aspects of the wartime story. Military history in its many guises, from the strategies of generals to the daily lives of common soldiers, forms an important part of that story, but so, too, do the numerous and complex political, economic, social, and diplomatic dimensions of the war. The series also provides a variety of perspectives on these topics. Most importantly, it offers the best in modern scholarship, with thoughtful, challenging monographs.
Secondly, it presents new editions of important books that have gone out of print. And thirdly, it premieres expertly edited correspondence, diaries, reminiscences, and other writings by participants in the war.
It is a formidable challenge, but by focusing on some of the least familiar dimensions of the conflict, The Civil War in the West significantly broadens our understanding of the nation’s most pivotal and dramatic story.”
—Daniel Sutherland, from the preface of I Do Wish This Cruel War Was Over