At June 13 meeting, Dr. Laura June Davis will join us to discuss irregular warfare along the Mississippi River.
Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., June 13, 2017
Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia
Topic: A New Style of Rebel Warfare: The Rise of Mississippi River Boat Burners
After the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, Abraham Lincoln famously stated that “the Father of the Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.” But this is not the whole story. While conventional warfare had ended, a new style of rebel warfare emerged—this one focused on aggressive, irregular tactics. Laura’s talk will uncover the actions of these pro-Confederate boat burners operating in St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, and other river towns, illustrating how they engaged in innumerable acts of sabotage and terror, obstructed riverine navigability, and curtailed the effectiveness of U.S. military operations. Ultimately, her research reminds us that the Mississippi River was a critical battlefield until the war’s end.
Dr. Laura June Davis is an Assistant Professor of History at Southern Utah University. Her teaching and research focus on American history through the long 19th century, with an emphasis on gender, identity, community, and the military. She is currently working on a manuscript that focuses on sabotage, irregular naval warfare, and masculinity during the Civil War. A portion of this research was recently published in an edited collection entitled Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts During the Civil War (2017), She earned her PhD from the University of Georgia in 2016.