The Fort Worth Civil War Round Table is proud to announce that Dr. Christopher Grasso is the winner of the A. M. Pate, Jr. Award in Civil War History for his book – Bloody Engagements: John R. Kelso’s Civil War. The Pate Award is given to the best book written on the Trans-Mississippi sector of the Civil War in the past year. It is judged by a Committee composed of members of the Fort Worth CWRT. The Award will be presented to Dr. Grasso in Fort Worth on January 8th.
Southwest Missouri was an ugly place during the Civil War. It was where brother fought brother and neighbor fought (and preyed upon) neighbor. The stories of guerillas operating in this region are numerous. But most of these are of Confederates. There were Union guerillas as well. The most important of these was John Kelso and this book is his first-hand account of his experiences. A former Methodist preacher and Missouri schoolteacher, he served as a Union army foot soldier, cavalry officer, guerilla fighter and spy. Kelso was a fearless and aggressive fighter who was driven by revenge after pro-Confederate neighbors stole his property, burned down his house and drove his family and friends from their homes.
Kelso’s account is carefully edited and annotated by Christopher Grasso. The book is well researched with good background on the people, places and events that are happening contemporaneously with the narrative. It is a fascinating story that provides much needed balance to the history of the conflict in Southwest Missouri and is a richly deserving recipient of the 2018 Pate Award.
Reviews of “Bloody Engagements” include the following:
“Editor and publisher are to be applauded for bringing to print a military memoir of Civil War Missouri that represents both the conventional and unconventional aspects of the conflict as uniquely as this one does. Bloody Engagements is highly recommended.”Andrew Wagenhoffer – “Civil War Books and Authors”
“This memoir offers a dramatic account of Missouri’s own civil war within the larger national Civil War. An intrepid Unionist and anti-slavery partisan, John Kelso became the scourge of Missouri Rebels in many violent encounters that he narrates in vigorous prose.”James M. McPherson
“Making meaning from memories, John Kelso’s Civil War experiences come richly alive through his convictions, conflicts, rage and ultimate bitterness. Christopher Grasso’s learned editorial hand lends lavish context to this valuable volume.”Martha Hodes author of “Mourning Lincoln”