Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Riding for the Lone Star

During the huge wave of Confederate volunteerism at the beginning of Civil War hostilities, Texans developed a reputation for possessing a uniquely high level of disdainfulness when it came to countenancing the foot mode of transporting themselves and fighting on the battlefield. Nathan Jennings's upcoming book Riding for the Lone Star: Frontier Cavalry and the Texas Way of War, 1822-1865 (Univ of N Texas Pr, Feb 2016) will examine in detail this mounted martial culture.

According to Jennings (or at least his ideas filtered through the marketing lens):
"(t)he idea of Texas was forged in the crucible of frontier warfare between 1822 and 1865, when Anglo-Americans adapted to mounted combat north of the Rio Grande. This cavalry-centric arena, which had long been the domain of Plains Indians and the Spanish Empire, compelled an adaptive martial tradition that shaped early Lone Star society. Beginning with initial tactical innovation in Spanish Tejas and culminating with massive mobilization for the Civil War, Texas society developed a distinctive way of war defined by armed horsemanship, volunteer militancy, and short-term mobilization as it grappled with both tribal and international opponents.

Drawing upon military reports, participants’ memoirs, and government documents, cavalry officer Nathan A. Jennings analyzes the evolution of Texan militarism from tribal clashes of colonial Tejas, territorial wars of the Texas Republic, the Mexican-American War, border conflicts of antebellum Texas, and the cataclysmic Civil War. In each conflict Texan volunteers answered the call to arms with marked enthusiasm for mounted combat. Riding for the Lone Star explores this societal passion—with emphasis on the historic rise of the Texas Rangers—through unflinching examination of territorial competition with Comanches, Mexicans, and Unionists."
This one will definitely be on my reading list for next year.

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