Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tenth Minnesota Volunteers by Michael A. Eggleston

The Tenth Minnesota Volunteers, 1862-1865: A History of Action in the Sioux Uprising and the Civil War, with a Regimental Roster. By Michael A. Eggleston.  Photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index, 238 pp., 2012, McFarland,, $40 softcover.

            While there have been a few recent books on the Sioux uprising of 1862 there is still plenty of room for a new effort.  Michael Eggleston has done an admirable job at filling this gap with this book on the 10th Minnesota.  In fact the 10th Minnesota was not fully formed when the uprising began but some of its members would fight with the 5th Minnesota during this time of panic in Minnesota.

            The next summer the 10th Minnesota would be involved in a punitive expedition into the Dakotas to deal with the Sioux.  The numbers of casualties was not too much but it offered the 10th Minnesota its first taste of combat.  Later in the summer they would be sent south to do the job they had volunteered for, fighting Confederates. 

            First they helped defeat Forrest at Tupelo in July 1864, though their part in the battle was small.  Then they next found themselves chasing after Price in Missouri.  They didn’t catch up to him but infantry chasing cavalry never realistically had a chance.  The regiment’s biggest test though was soon approaching as they were transferred back to Tennessee in time for the battle of Nashville.  On the second day they lost 68 killed and wounded out of 301 engaged, including its lieutenant colonel officer wounded and major killed.  But their war was not done as they were again transferred, this time to the Gulf coast to be part of the Mobile campaign.  They were part of the attack on Spanish Fort and arrived at Fort Blakely a little too late to take part in that charge.

            A superb roster of the regiment appears in the appendices.  The appendices also contain a significant amount of extra information on the Sioux uprising.  Included are copies of the treaties that were broken, a history of the trials and subsequent executions as well as Lincoln’s report to Congress on the whole incident.

            While this is not the best book on the Sioux uprising it certainly helps fill in some holes in an area that tends to get forgotten.  The individual battle histories are pretty generalized with not too much detail given so they might only appeal to someone with an interest in the 10th Minnesota.  Overall though I think this is a worthwhile book primarily because of its coverage of the Sioux uprising and subsequent 1863 punitive expedition.

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