Reading Recommendations: Jeff Davis's Own, Cavalry, Comanches, and The Battle for the Texas Frontier, James R. Arnold
In 1855, a unique crisis demanded a unique response. The government's relocation of eastern North American tribes and the increasing encroachment of settlers threatened the survival of the Great Plains tribes, most notably the Comanche. The "Lords of the Plains" reacted with furious raids against frontier settlements in Texas and Mexico.
The government's answer was the second cavalry, created by U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. Designed from its inception to fight a mobile war with innovative tactics, this select unit not only helped turn the tide of the battle for the West, it became the crucible that forged the commanders of both sides of America's next great conflict. Sixteen of the officers who accepted appointments to the elite Second Cavalry became civil War generals. No other regiment in the American army, before or since, produced so many generals in such a short time.
Remarkably vivid and evenhanded, Jeff Davis's Own offers the first in depth examination of the exploits of the Second Cavalry. Drawing on a wealth of military documents, archival materials, newspapers and personal journals, James Arnold topples many of the long standing legends surrounding the taming of the West. In their place, he offers a penetrating frequently surprising look at the early service of some of the most outstanding leaders of the Civil War and the creation of one of the army's most storied regiments.
The Second was the army's elite. They rode thoroughbreds, with each company issued horses of a dstinct matching color; sat upon redesigned saddles; relied upon Samuel Colt's five shot revolver instead of the traditional saber; and wore a new uniform with a bright stripe on the trousers that earned the men of the Second the nickname "Yellow Legs".
This and much more information grips the reader as the Second cuts a swath across Texas, wanted to fight the enemy and then to divide again to face each other across the battlefields of their own homeland.
, German Seed in Texas Soil, Immigrant Farmers in Nineteenth Century Texas, Terry G. Jordan
Terry Jordan explores how German immigrants in the nineteenth century influenced and were influenced by the agricultural life in the areas of Texas where they settled. His findings both support the notion of ethnic distinctiveness and reveal the extent to which German Texans adopted the farming techniques of their Southern Anglo neighbors.
The late Terry G. Jordan held the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas in the geography department at the university of Texas in Austin. From the Texas Bookshelves.
, The Union Quilters, An Elm Creek Quilt Novel, Jennifer Chiaverini
In 1862, the men of Water's Ford, Pennsylvania, rally to answer Mr. Lincoln's call to arms, spurring the women to the Elm Creek Valley into their own battle to preserve the nation. Dorothea Granger, dismayed by her scholarly husband's bleak descriptions of food shortages and illness in the soldiers camps, marshals her friends to "wield their needles for the union", and provide for the men's needs. Her friend Constance Wright staunchly supports her husband as he is repeatedly turned away from serving in the Union army because of the color of his skin. She is determined to help him secure both the privileges and the responsibilities of citizenship. Anneke Bergstrom's pacifist husband does not enlist, but his safety becomes her shame, one that compels her to work ceaselessly for the Union cause to prove her family's loyalty. A gifted writer committed to hastening the end of the war, Gerda Bergstom takes on local southern sympathizers in the pages of the Water's Ford Register, risking the wrath of the Copperhead Press, and the jealous wife of the regimental surgeon she loves.
While the women work, hope, and pray at home, the men they love confront loneliness, boredom, and danger on the bloody battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Anxious for news, the women share precious letters around the quilting circle, drawing strength and comfort from one another as they witness from afar the suffering and deprivation their husbands, brothes, sons, and sweethearts must endure. It falls to the Union Quilters to provide for the soldiers at the front, and the wounded veterans who have come home, to run farms and businesses, and to protect their homes and families when the Confederate army threatens the Elm Creek Valley. Their new independence will forever alter the patchwork of town life in ways that transcend even the ultimate sacrifices of war.
See you at Rylander!