Friday, August 7, 2009

Kirk: "A THOUSAND TEXANS: Men of the 9th Texas Cavalry"

[A Thousand Texans: Men of the 9th Texas Cavalry by Stephen S. Kirk (Two Trails Publishing, 2009). Softcover, notes, detailed combined roster, bibliography, index. 463 pages. ISBN:9781929311521 $23.95*]

A Thousand Texans is the second in Stephen Kirk's series of roster studies of the regiments comprising what would later become known as Ross's brigade of Texas cavalry [click here to read my review of Sul Ross' Sixth Texas Cavalry: Six-Shooters & Bowie Knives (Two Trails, 2008)]. Organized at Camp Reeves (Grayson County) in October 1861, the 9th Texas Cavalry, under its first colonel William B. Sims, was sent directly to the Indian Territory to combat pro-Union Indian forces under Opothleyaholo. The unit next fought at Pea Ridge, Arkansas before being ordered across the Mississippi River. The 9th (brigaded with fellow Texans from the 3rd and 6th regiments) participated in the Corinth Campaign, the Battle of Thompson's Station, the raid on Holly Springs, and in the defense of Vicksburg. After the fall of the Hill City, the Texans remained in Mississippi for a time, but spent 1864 actively campaigning in Georgia and Tennessee. Subsequent to the disastrous defeat at Nashville, the men were attached to Richard Taylor's department, and finally surrendered in May 1865.

A Thousand Texans begins with a very brief (15 pages in length) regimental history sketch. Subsequent chapters are devoted to each company, the format of which includes an introduction, officer list, a deployment summary (written by the mustering officer), and a combined (officer, NCO, enlisted) roster. The company rosters, compiled from CSRs, census & POW records, pension applications, letters, diaries, county histories, cemetery records, and other publications, are extensively detailed. As with the previous volume, these rosters are far more extensive than those typically found in other research tools of this type. The main focus of the book, they are its best and most useful feature. Entries range from a few lines to several pages of information. Kirk's rosters are also different from just about any other one will find, in that, for many individuals, he also includes lengthy excerpts from primary and secondary sources that specifically mention that person. With the completion of the company rosters, the next chapter in the book provides capsule biographies of field and staff officers, and the final one pension records. There's also a good name index.

A Thousand Texans yields a treasure trove of information for researchers, family members, and other genealogy enthusiasts interested in the men of the 9th Texas Cavalry. This is a very beneficial reference book for students of the Lone Star state's contributions to the Confederate mounted forces that operated in the Trans-Mississippi and western theaters.

* Ordering Information - note from the author: "The cost of the book is $23.95, and there is a $4.95 shipping charge. Institutions may order the book by sending or emailing a purchase order to Stephen S.Kirk, 4414 West 111th Terrace, Leawood, Kansas 66211. Others may order by sending a personal check or money order to the same address."

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