Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On Duty in the Pacific Northwest during the Civil War

Over quite a long period, I've corresponded with historian James Jewell here and there regarding Far West Civil War topics, much of the time discussing his research and writing on the First Oregon Cavalry (and the task of finding a publisher for it!). I hadn't heard from him in a while and was equal parts surprised and delighted to discover this week that his efforts will soon bear fruit.

The online release date for Jewell's On Duty in the Pacific Northwest during the Civil War: Correspondence and Reminiscences of the First Oregon Cavalry Regiment is in March, but the print catalog I just received in the mail today from UT Press has August for the month of publication. Their long-running Voices of the Civil War series will be a good home for it I should think.

From the book description: "From 1862 to 1865, twenty-six hundred miles away from the seat of the federal government in Washington, DC, the First Oregon Volunteer Cavalry Regiment offered aid to the Union cause in the American Civil War. The First Oregon Cavalry confronted a host of complex challenges unseen by their counterparts serving in a more traditional role in the East. Their battles were more often with Native Americans—and often more concerned with their own status in the territory than with the Civil War rending the nation—while searching for pro Confederate spies and sympathizers. However unsung during the war, the regiment carried out their responsibilities successfully, managing to expedite the development of the Pacific Northwest in the process."

The Civil War era U.S. Army as important player in the economic growth and development of the Far West is getting to be a common theme. Particularly strong at this point is the scholarship surrounding the California Column and the great boost its officers and men (both in and out of service) provided to the Desert Southwest's progress and development. It certainly is indicated here that Jewell's work will extend this line of study to the Pacific Northwest.

More: "On Duty in the Pacific Northwest during the Civil War introduces readers to the first regiment from the Pacific Northwest to serve the Union cause. James Robbins Jewell offers a glimpse into the lives of these soldiers, presenting their wartime letters to various northwesterners to share their experiences with loved ones at home.

Complete with a series of reminiscences and excerpts from memoirs by First Oregon Cavalry officers and soldiers, On Duty in the Pacific Northwest during the Civil War is the first collection of primary source materials from soldiers serving in this Far Western territory. Jewell’s first-rate collection enables readers to step directly into the Pacific Northwest of the early 1860s and experience the Civil War from a different perspective.
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