Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-4535-9 • Hardback • July 2015 • $72.00 • (£55.00)
978-1-5381-4151-9 • Paperback • January 2020 • $39.00 • (£30.00)
978-0-7425-4536-6 • eBook • July 2015 • $35.00 • (£27.00)
Kyle S. Sinisi is professor of history at The Citadel. He is author of Sacred Debts: State Civil War Claims and American Federalism, 1861–1880 and co-editor of Warm Ashes: Essays in Southern History at the Dawn of the 21st Century.
Chapter 1. Sterling Price is the State of Missouri
Chapter 2. We Suspect Missouri is the Objective
Chapter 3. To the Arcadia Valley
Chapter 4. General My Brigade Never Flickered
Chapter 5. For God’s Sake Give Me Authority to Do Something
Chapter 6. D--n the State, I Wish I Had Never Seen It
Chapter 7. You are Home Boys, and I Do Not Want to Hurt You
Chapter 8. Men of Kansas, Rally!
Chapter 9. A Beautiful and Exciting Scene
Chapter 10. I Can Stop Price at This Crossing
Chapter 11. A Desperate Stand at Brush Creek
Chapter 12. Rebels, Rebels, Fire, Fire
Chapter 13. Lost Opportunity at Hart Grove Creek
Chapter 14. Musketry Like Swarms of Lightning Bugs
Chapter 15. I Don’t Give No Quarters Nor Will I Ask Anny
Chapter 16. We All Experienced Tribulation This Day
Chapter 17. There is Not an Enemy in a Hundred Miles
Chapter 18. A Land of Starvation
Chapter 19. Aftermath
The Last Hurrah effectively recounts the campaign from inception to end. Near the end of summer 1864, Sterling Price would finally get his grand opportunity to try to wrest control of his home state from federal forces. . . .Covering such a vast campaign in a single volume of reasonable size is a difficult proposition but Sinisi's efforts toward maximizing available space succeed admirably. His description and analysis of the Missouri Expedition in all three major military dimensions — strategic, operational and tactical — are appropriately weighted and balanced. For a work of this scale the amount of tactical detail provided for the many battles and skirmishes fought is more than satisfactory. The roughly one hundred pages devoted to the October 19-23 series of battles fought just east and south of Kansas City comprise the best treatment yet of what one might consider collectively as the Battle of Westport. In support of the narrative is a very useful set of 21 maps created by Larry Hoffman. In general terms, the cartography of the Missouri Expedition is scant and woeful in the collective literature and The Last Hurrah goes a long way toward rectifying this deficiency. The somewhat complex movements and side-movements of Price's army are clearly traced on the book's operational scale maps and the many tactical maps correlate well with the text descriptions of the unit and landscape battlefield tableau associated with each one. . . .For students of the Civil War in Missouri, The Last Hurrah: Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864 has been well worth the considerable wait. The first thorough military treatment of the campaign, this deeply researched and skillfully composed study also holds the added distinction of ranking among the finer examples of Civil War operational military history regardless of subject. Highly recommended.
— Civil War Books and Authors
Save the Red River Campaign of the same year, no other operation conducted west of the Mississippi river in 1864 can match the numbers involved and geographic sweep of Sterling Price's expedition in Missouri, yet no full-length military treatment of it has been published until now. Kyle S. Sinisi's The Last Hurrah: Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864 is noteworthy not only for bridging this long-standing gap in the Trans-Mississippi Civil War historiography but also for being by any estimation a first-rate operational history. The author persuasively rejects or revises a large number of traditional campaign interpretations while advancing fresh ones of his own.
— The Civil War Monitor
In The Last Hurrah, Kyle S. Sinisi provides the long-needed modern one-volume account of Price’s campaign, one that will appeal to anyone interested in the war in Missouri in general and the events of the fall of 1864 in particular. He skillfully describes the various engagements that Price’s men fought over the course of the campaign and the fierce fighting that determined their outcome. He is likewise adept at describing the high-command maneuvering that shaped the campaign both on and off the battlefield. In the process, Sinisi provides compelling illustrations of the inextricable relationship between war and politics and how Civil War military operations were influenced as much by the ability of commanders to work together as by their competence as battlefield tacticians. . . .Sinisi also does a fine job describing the experiences of those lower down the chain of command, providing an especially effective account of the ordeal they experienced as Price fled south in the aftermath of his defeat at Westport and the Big Blue with the federals in pursuit. He does all of this in a study whose depth of research, readability, and thoroughness make it a work that readers will find valuable and future students of the campaign will be hard pressed to supersede.
— Missouri Historical Review
Sinisi traces the expedition from its conception to its disastrous results for the Confederacy. He offers a well-written, informative, and complete view that will well serve readers who have little knowledge of these events. The book is so much more than the standard blow-by-blow account that gives military history a bad name among scholars. Sinisi not only show the broader political, social, and military aspects of Price's 1864 operations but also successfully argues that writers who have dealt with the subject before have done it a great disservice. . . .For students and scholars of Arkansas's place in American history, Sinisi's The Last Hurrah is essential.
— Arkansas Historical Quarterly
Kyle Sinisi has offered a masterful and definitive study . . . Consulting a wide array of military records, memoirs, newspapers and letters, as well as a comprehensive assessment of relevant secondary works, Sinisi has created a more coherent and masterful account of Price’s Raid than any other work that precedes it.
— Civil War Book Review
[W]ith Kyle Sinisi’s The Last Hurrah: Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864, we have a richly textured narrative that weaves together traditional and new military history to produce what will likely remain the definitive study on a pivotal western campaign for many years to come.... [The book is] recommend ... for students of Kansas history.... Building upon previous studies which are now dated or deal with only isolated parts of the campaign, Sinisi’s masterful, book-length treatment is a model of military history and deserves a wide audience. Beyond Fort Davidson, Boonville, Lexington, Newtonia, and the other engagements recounted in vivid detail, readers will find incisive attention paid to the treatment of deserters, prisoners, and civilians; in-fighting among the other officer corps of each side; the environmental challenges faced across a trek of nearly 1,500 miles; the suspected capture of free African Americans; and simmering postwar feuds over which parties most deserved credit or blame for the expedition’s failure. It must also be noted that this book includes splendid battlefield maps. Having set out to craft a comprehensive history of Price’s expedition and the political and social contexts from which it sprang and ultimately failed, Sinisi fulfills his purpose admirably.
— Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains
In The Last Hurrah: Sterling Price's Missouri Expedition of 1864, Kyle S. Sinisi provides a valuable and compelling history of a campaign that failed.... Sinisi's narrative is thorough, as he follows the campaign day by day, at times hour by hour and minute by minute.
— Journal of Southern History
The author succeeds in presenting a comprehensive history of the Missouri campaign by utilizing a great variety of primary sources, reassessing long held interpretations, integrating treatments of nearby military actions, assessing the nature of Union preparedness, and placing the campaign within the larger history of the Civil War. . . . For those interested in Illinois history of the period, the work is a reminder of the vulnerability of regions bordering the northern and western tier of slaveholding states and not just in the early period when Cairo appeared a threatened strategic point. Overall, this volume is a valuable one for both historians and Civil War enthusiasts.
— Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society
Cutting through 150 years of myths and misinformation surrounding Price’s Raid, Kyle Sinisi provides a compelling study of breadth and depth, demonstrating why the Trans-Mississippi was the most interesting theater of the Civil War. A judicious, balanced, and nuanced account of perhaps the least studied and most misunderstood major campaign of the war.
— William Garrett Piston, Missouri State University, co-author of Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It
Kyle Sinisi provides a long-needed analysis of the last major military operation west of the Mississippi River. Sinisi challenges long-held assumptions about Sterling Price's disastrous 1864 Missouri invasion while addressing the unique machinations of Kansas and Missouri politics, examining the many battles that marked the raid's progress, and confronting the atrocities committed by both sides on each other and the civilian population. The Last Hurrah is essential reading for anyone interested in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the Civil War.
— Mark K. Christ, Arkansas Historic Preservation, author of Civil War Arkansas 1863: The Battle for a State
No scholar has explained Sterling Price’s desperate attempt to capture Missouri in the fall of 1864 as thoroughly or as thoughtfully as has Kyle S. Sinisi. His engaging and well-researched exploration of this “last hurrah” for Confederates in the Trans-Mississippi reveals the full complexity of Price’s ill-fated campaign, from its improbable origins to its messy aftermath.
— Daniel E. Sutherland, University of Arkansas, author of A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War
As part of the Confederacy’s final effort to use war to achieve thwarted political goals, Sterling Price’s invasion of Missouri sought to swing the presidential election by invigorating the western dissent movement. For the Confederates, it was an inglorious end to their stubborn dream of independence sounded far from the remaining southern fronts. Kyle S. Sinisi has told this tale better than anyone, combining its military, political, social, and ideological elements into a compelling historical narrative of loss.
— Christopher Phillips, University of Cincinnati, author of The Civil War in the Border South
• Winner, A.M. Pate Jr. Prize for best book published on the history of the Trans-Mississippi Civil War (sponsored by the Fort Worth Civil War Roundtable) (2015)
• Runner-up, “Honorable Mention” for Best Civil War book of 2015 by The Civil War Monitor (2015)