Thursday, March 10, 2016

Booknotes: Fort Bascom

New Arrival:
Fort Bascom: Soldiers, Comancheros, and Indians in the Canadian River Valley by James Bailey Blackshear (Univ of Okla Pr, 2016).

In 1862, the Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory ended in disaster but the victorious Union forces that reoccupied the area constantly worried over the next two years about a renewed attack from Texas. In 1863, they built Fort Bascom near the Texas border along the banks of the Canadian River. Named after a Union officer killed at the Battle of Valverde, the fort defended the local population from Confederate and Southern Plains Indian raids.

In Fort Bascom, author James Blackshear "presents the definitive history of this critical outpost in the American Southwest, along with a detailed view of army life on the late-nineteenth-century western frontier" and "shows the difficulties of maintaining a post in a harsh environment where scarce water and forage, long supply lines, poorly constructed facilities, and monotonous duty tested soldiers’ endurance."

In discussing the army's attempts to subjugate raiding Comanches and Kiowas, the book also examines frontier army logistics and the negative impact of the Comanchero trade.

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