The remarkable Confederate career of Prince Camille de Polignac--French aristocrat, professional military man, and solider of fortune-has gone largely unnoticed because most of his service occurred in the relatively neglected western theater of the American Civil war. While in Louisiana in early 1863, after serving under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard and Gen. Braxton Bragg, newly promoted Brigadier General Polignac took over a brigade of unruly Texans. In many ways it was a last chance for both Polignac and the brigade. Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, disgusted with the insubordinate Texans, was on the verge of breaking up the brigade. Polignac despite an impeccable military background, had been rejected by a number of units because of his foreign birth.
Through hard work and personal bravery. The French prince eventually won his men's trust and played a crucial role in defeating the Red River campaign of Union general Nathaniel P. Banks, for which Polignac was promoted to major general. In early 1865 Polignac made a final attempt to save his adopted country by sailing to France on a secret diplomatic mission, but by the time he arrived in Paris, the South had surrendered.
In the engaging, well-written Lafayette of the South, Jeff Kinard reveals the distinguished but underappreciated life and career of Prince Camille de Polignac. With riveting storytelling, Kinard follows Polignac through his early days, his dramatic years during the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War, and the rest of his long life. Polignac dies in1913, holding the peculiar distinction of being the last Confederate major general and the only foreign national on either side to earn a rank.
Jeff Kinard received an M.F.A in art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Texas Christian University. He published numerous articles on military history, as well as The Battle of the Crater; a Military History Book Club selection.