Civil War Marine: A Diary of the Red River Expedition, 1864
Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:
- What is a plausible back story for a Civil War era Marine officer?
- What were some of the ships in the Union’s Mississippi River fleet?
- What did civil war era officers do to entertain themselves?
- What sorts of things did Civil War era military units help themselves to?
The heart of this work is the day by day journal of US Marine Lieutenant Frank Church who served on the Red River (mostly Louisiana) Expedition during the Civil War. The journal spans from February 19, 1864 through May 25, 1864 and is supplemented by 127 footnotes and an index.
According to the introduction, this journal is believed to be one of the few surviving primary accounts of US Marines during the Civil War. This work would be a great starting point for a “through the eyes” of story, whether during the Civil War itself or fictitious conflicts elsewhere.
Interspersed with the text of the journal are paintings and photographs of the various ships, personnel and places associated with the Red River expedition.
The book opens with a historical overview of the Red River Expedition. The editors of Church’s journal deem the expedition to be a politically motivated failure that may have contributed to the length of the war. Purported storehouses of valuable cotton were rumored to be along the Red River and were one of the motivations for the expedition. Several high ranking officers were accused of diverting cotton for their own profit.