"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
7 August 2003

Book Reviews -- Summer Time & Reading is Plentiful

Wilson, John P., When the Texans Came: Missing Records from the Civil War in the Southwest, 1861-1862. Albuquerque, NM: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 2001. [ISBN 0-8263-2290-5] To order: http://www.unmpress.com/ or telephone 1-800-249-7737 or write: University of New Mexico Press, Order Dept., 3721 Spirit Drive SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106-5631

Wilson, John P. & Jerry Thompson, The Civil War in West Texas & New Mexico: The Lost Letterbook of Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley. El Paso, TX: Texas Western Press - The Univ. of Texas at El Paso, 2001. [ISBN 0-874-04283-6] To order: http://www.utep.edu/twp/ or telephone 1-800-488-3789 or write: Texas Western Press, 500 W. University Avenue El Paso, TX 79968-0633.

Thompson, Jerry (ed.), Civil War in the Southwest: Recollections of the Sibley Brigade. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2001. [ISBN 1-58544-131-7] To order: http://www.tamu.edu/upress/ or telephone 1-800-826-8911 or write: Texas A&M University Press Consortium. John H. Lindsey Bldg.-Lewis Street, 4354 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843-4354.


These days, there seems to be a never-ending proliferation of new books and resources on the Civil War. Gratefully, many of these new works are related to the Western Campaign and are important to individuals who have ancestors who lived in Central Texas as many of those men participated in these battles.

In 1862, more than 2,000 miles west of Washington, DC and Richmond, VA, the Civil War was raging in the mountains and deserts of the Southwest. An army of zealous Texan recruits, many of them from Central Texas, marched with Gen. H. H. Sibley across Texas, through the burning deserts of the Texas trans-Pecos to Fort Bliss in El Paso and then onward to invade New Mexico.

Sibley's goal was the conquest of California and his troops carried the battle cry, "On to San Francisco" on their lips. They never made it! However, these men fought in 16 major battles during the civil and their most agonizing experiences came during the New Mexico Campaign.

The Civil War in the Southwest contains the dramatic stories of the battles in first-person accounts through the recollections of seven veterans who "set the record straight" and provide colorful accounts of the Battles of Val Verde, Glorieta and Peralta as well as details the tragic and painful retreat back to Texas in the Summer of 1862.

The Lost Letterbook of Brigadier General Sibley provides new details into Sibley's ill-fated and grandiose dreams for a Confederate empire in the Southwest. Of the 147 letters in the letterbook, only eight have been identified as having been published in the "War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies." (128 volumes, 1881-1901)

The letters tell how Sibley organized his army, enlisted officers and sough supplies and equipment and great reading into the mind of a general and the mundane day-to-day operations of an army.

In the book, When the Texans Came brings a new perspective on the City War in the West by documenting the activities of Kit Carson, William Brady and other well-known figures in the Western Campaign. He also highlights, for the first time, the dedicated service of the native New Mexican officers and the espionage activities carried out by Confederates and Union personnel. This book contains 282 letters, song lyrics, casualty lists, intelligence dispatches, transcripts of witness testimony, newspaper accounts, and official reports of battles that build upon the massive anthology of Civil War documentation first published in the War of the Rebellion.

These three studies in the New Mexico Campaign and Gen. Sibley makes for important reading for anyone interested in the Civil War and more importantly for those who had family members who participated in these events.

The War of the Rebellion can be found on-line in its entirety at:http://library5.library.cornell.edu/moa/browse.monographs/waro.html and includes an excellent search engine.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 26 Dec 2003 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604