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Blood & Treasure: Confederate Empire in the…

Blood & Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest (Texas a & M…

by Donald S. Frazier

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For those who know, perhaps, that Picacho Peak was the site of the Westernmost battle of the Civil War and that Tucson was once under the Confederate flag, this book will tell the complete story of the Confederate attempt to take over the Southwestern US. The author is a notable one.
  EvalineAuerbach | Mar 24, 2011 |
Fraizer's book isn't just about the Rebel invasion of the current New Mexico and Arizona at the start of the American Civil War. Instead, Fraizer's approach is to propose, rather successfully, that this invasion was not some wild-eyed scheme or diversion, but a fundamental part of the Confederate, or at least Texan, high level ambitions. Starting from right after the Texas War for Independence, argues Fraizer, Texans had sought to seize the Rio Grande from mouth to source, and after the Gadsden Purchase of 1854 their interest expanded to the mineral rich area of present southern Arizona. And California with it's gold was never far from their thoughts either.

After this background, the book does an excellent job of relating the story of the Rebel early attempts to control the Southwest, first with localized uprisings and escalating to Sibley's invasion in late 1861. He then covers the campaign, the battles and the eventual withdrawal of the Rebel forces. The included maps are well appreciated.

The book is published by Texas A&M University Press and is focused on the Texan and Confederate forces and actions, rather than an equal assessment of both sides. That's no problem since it reflects the author's intent. Fraizer is rather opinionated at times and doesn't mince his words, but he does seem to be evenhanded with his criticisms, eventually finding that much of the blame for the failure of the invasion falls squarely on the Texans, who he notes were often fine warriors but poor soldiers.

Highly recommended for the reader with an interest in military or American Civil War history. ( )
  jztemple | Feb 3, 2011 |
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