Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Book News: The Old Army in Texas (2nd Edition)

The listings of upcoming 2020 titles that might spark my interest enough to feature here on the site hasn't changed at all really since March, so let's try something Civil War-adjacent. The Fall catalog for TAMU Consortium member Texas State Historical Association showcases a new edition of Thomas T. Smith's The Old Army in Texas: A Research Guide to the U.S. Army in Nineteenth Century Texas (SEPT 2020). Described as "a comprehensive and authoritative single-source reference for the activities of the regular army in the Lone Star State during the nineteenth century," it sounds like it is a straight paperback reprint of the original 2000 hardcover (which is still readily available). The only added material mentioned in the description is a new foreword from Ralph Wooster.

From the description: "Beginning with a series of maps that sketch the evolution of fort locations on the frontier, Smith furnishes an overview with his introductory essay. The second part of this guide lists the departmental commanders, the location of the military headquarters, and the changes in the administrative organization and military titles for Texas. Part III provides a dictionary of 223 posts, forts, and camps in the state. The fourth part gives a year by year snapshot of total army strength in the state, the regiments assigned, and the garrisons and commanders of each major fort and camp.

Supplying the only such synopsis of its kind, the guide's Part V offers a chronological description of 224 U.S. Army combat actions in the Indian Wars with vivid details of each engagement. The 900 entries in the selected bibliography of Part VI are divided topically into sections on biographical sources and regimental histories, histories of forts, garrison life, civil-military relations, the Mexican War, and frontier operations." The volume is also "illustrated with a number of maps and rare photographs of the U.S. Army in nineteenth century Texas."

The description doesn't specifically mention the Civil War years, but it presumably addresses the many Old Army interactions with state and Confederate forces in 1861. I missed this book the first time around, so I'm looking forward to obtaining a copy one way or another.

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