A review of The Retribution Conspiracy: The Rise of the Confederate Secret Service (Scuppernong Press, 2021) by Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
In a world full of ever arising new conspiracy theories, one over 150 years old still intrigues us. Did the South conspire to kill Lincoln? Noted scholar and historian, Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr’s, novel The Retribution Conspiracy adds his historical research and skill as a novelist to the question and answers with a resounding, “Yes!”
The Retribution Conspiracy follows the life of the protagonist, Rance Liebert, as a young man growing-up in a South that was at that time a frontier culture. It was a time when Southern gentlemen lived by the code duello, although sometimes—if the enemy needed killing—even murder was socially acceptable. The author provides his reader with a wealth of knowledge about the early South—something only a true historian/novelist could do. In so doing he sets the stage for the South’s historic struggle during the War for Southern Independence.
Rance’s military experience began as Second Lieutenant of Volunteers during the Mexican-American War. During this war Rance observed the value of the “Jeff Davis” rifles at the Battle of Buena Vista. He learned that disease killed “seven men for every one killed” by Mexicans. He witnessed the effectiveness of “flying artillery” under the command of Captain Braxton Bragg. Bragg’s decisive efforts was largely responsible for Jefferson Davis’ victory at Buena Vista and resulted in a life-long friendship between Davis and Bragg. A point that would result in disaster for the South during the War for Southern Independence—something historian Mitcham pointed out in his previous book about General Nathan Bedford Forrest—Bust Hell Wide Open.