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Civil War Wests

Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States

Adam Arenson
Andrew R. Graybill
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt13x1gqn
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  • Book Info
    Civil War Wests
    Book Description:

    This innovative study presents a new, integrated view of the Civil War and Reconstruction and the history of the western United States.

    Award-winning historians such as Steven Hahn, Martha Sandweiss, William Deverell, Virginia Scharff, and Stephen Kantrowitz offer original essays on lives, choices, and legacies in the American West, discussing the consequences for American Indian nations, the link between Reconstruction and suffrage movements, and cross-border interactions with Canada and Mexico.

    In the West, Civil War battlefields and Civil War politics engaged a wide range of ethnic and racial distinctions, raising questions that would arise only later in places farther east. Histories of Reconstruction in the South ignore the connections to previous occupation efforts and citizenship debates in the West. The stories contained in this volume complicate our understanding of the paths from slavery to freedom for white as well as non-white Americans.

    By placing the histories of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction period within one sustained conversation, this volume expands the limits of both by emphasizing how struggles over land, labor, sovereignty, and citizenship shaped the U.S. nation-state in this tumultuous era. This volume highlights significant moments and common concerns of this continuous conflict, as it stretched across the continent and throughout the nineteenth century.

    Publishing on the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, this collection brings eminent historians into conversation, looking at the Civil War from several Western perspectives, and delivers a refreshingly disorienting view intended for scholars, general readers, and students.

    Published in Cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95957-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. [Map]
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Adam Arenson

    THE CIVIL WAR AND THE AMERICAN WEST are some of the most familiar subjects in U.S. history. The journey of Lewis and Clark and the discovery of gold in California; the firing on Fort Sumter and the battle at Gettysburg; the assassination of President Lincoln and the driving of the Golden Spike to complete the transcontinental railroad—each has inspired hundreds of studies and preoccupied scholars and enthusiasts since the events themselves unfolded.

    But little attention has been paid to the intersections of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the wider history of the American West, and how these seemingly separate...

  5. PART ONE BORDERLANDS IN CONFLICT

    • ONE Thwarting Southern Schemes and British Bluster in the Pacific Northwest
      (pp. 15-32)
      James Robbins Jewell

      FOUR MONTHS BEFORE JOHN BROWN seized the armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, events in the far northwestern corner of the United States also brought the nation to the brink of war—not with itself, but with England. The blood spilled in June 1859 belonged to a pig, leading to one of the most bizarre episodes in U.S. diplomatic history. After Abraham Lincoln’s election as president, the tensions from decades of mutual suspicions between the United States and its northern neighbor, compounded by the presence of a vocal group of southerners in the regional capital of Victoria, took on overtones of...

    • TWO Death in the Distance: CONFEDERATE MANIFEST DESTINY AND THE CAMPAIGN FOR NEW MEXICO, 1861–1862
      (pp. 33-52)
      Megan Kate Nelson

      THE EDGES OF THE HARD-PACKED TRAIL were blurry with sand, lingering evidence of a howling storm that had swept through the Albuquerque Basin a few weeks before. James “Paddy” Graydon’s horse kicked up clouds of dust as the Union scout scanned the landscape in front of him. Sand sage and blue grama pushed up out of the ground and mesas crouched low on the horizon. From here, the road climbed further southwest into the Magdalene Mountains, winding through forests of ponderosa pine and gambel oak. The next water hole was more than twenty miles away. Graydon knew this landscape well....

    • THREE Kit Carson and the War for the Southwest: SEPARATION AND SURVIVAL ALONG THE RIO GRANDE, 1862–1868
      (pp. 53-70)
      Lance R. Blyth

      AS THE REMNANTS OF THE SIBLEY BRIGADE trickled southward, Christopher “Kit” Carson’s Civil War was over. In June 1861, Carson had resigned his Ute Indian agency post to answer the call for volunteers. Appointed first as a lieutenant colonel, and then a colonel, Carson had raised the First Regiment New Mexico Volunteers among the plazas of northern New Mexico and trained his Hispano soldiers at Fort Union and Albuquerque. Dispatched south to Fort Craig along the Rio Grande in January 1862, Carson led his regiment at the Battle of Valverde on February 20–21, performing well enough to be mentioned...

    • FOUR Scattered People: THE LONG HISTORY OF FORCED EVICTION IN THE KANSAS–MISSOURI BORDERLANDS
      (pp. 71-92)
      Diane Mutti Burke

      ON AUGUST 25, 1863, UNION GENERAL Thomas Ewing Jr. the new commander of the District of the Border, issued General Order No. 11. Ewing called for the virtual depopulation of the four Missouri counties—Jackson, Bates, Cass, and a section of Vernon—along the state’s unobstructed border with Kansas, south of the bend in the Missouri River. A brutal Confederate guerrilla raid on Lawrence, Kansas, in late August 1863 led Ewing to conclude that the only way to quell the violence along the border was to evict the residents, whose presence, he believed, fuelled the conflict. The order called for...

  6. PART TWO THE CIVIL WAR IS NOT OVER

    • FIVE “The Future Empire of Our Freedmen”: REPUBLICAN COLONIZATION SCHEMES IN TEXAS AND MEXICO, 1861–1865
      (pp. 95-117)
      Nicholas Guyatt

      IN THE SPRING OF 1862, AS THE CIVIL WAR’S first year drew to a close, the U.S. consul in Havana, Robert Wilson Shufeldt, asked Secretary of State William Seward for a two-month leave of absence. Rather than return to the United States, Shufeldt wanted to visit Mexico, which was in the midst of an extraordinary crisis. The Liberal government of Benito Juárez had emerged triumphant from Mexico’s own civil war in January 1861 but had emptied the national treasury in the process. After defaulting on its foreign loans that summer, Mexico had been unable to prevent its European creditors—France,...

    • SIX Three Faces of Sovereignty: GOVERNING CONFEDERATE, MEXICAN, AND INDIAN TEXAS IN THE CIVIL WAR ERA
      (pp. 118-138)
      Gregory P. Downs

      IN THE SPRING OF 1865, THE CIVIL WAR SEEMED at last to grind to an end in Texas. Weeks earlier Confederates had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, and Durham, North Carolina, but in Texas the war had not yet concluded. At the battle of Palmito Ranch, on May 12 and 13, 1865, the Sixty-Second U.S. Colored Infantry and other volunteers encountered active Confederates who ambushed them and fought them back from the mainland, taking a hundred prisoners and killing or wounding another thirty U.S. soldiers. It was not until June that Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith finally surrendered Texas...

    • SEVEN Redemption Falls Short: SOLDIER AND SURGEON IN THE POST–CIVIL WAR FAR WEST
      (pp. 139-157)
      William Deverell

      ICONOCLASTIC TO A FAULT, AND RENDERED even more temperamental by way of a grievous wartime injury, noted nineteenth-century writer Ambrose Bierce seems to fita profile of the wounded Civil War warrior searching for, if not finding, redemption, recovery, or renewal in the far West after the fighting had ended. But Bierce is a tough fit with any model or template of personality, profile, or experience. His postwar experience demonstrates how, for so many soldiers, the Civil War never ended.

      Born into a hardscrabble Ohio farm family in 1842, the tenth of thirteen children, Bierce was deeply influenced as a boy...

    • EIGHT Still Picture, Moving Stories: RECONSTRUCTION COMES TO INDIAN COUNTRY
      (pp. 158-178)
      Martha A. Sandweiss

      THE PHOTOGRAPH PUTS US IN INDIAN COUNTRY, in early May 1868. Alexander Gardner had been here at Fort Laramie for more than two weeks, photographing the Indians and government agents assembled at this windswept military outpost on the plains of Dakota Territory. The grass had not yet greened up, and nature’s bleak aspect matched the mood of the assembled Lakota Sioux chiefs and federal Peace Commissioners.¹

      The picture focuses our attention. It introduces us to the Peace Commission, created by Congress in July 1867 to “establish peace with certain hostile Indian tribes,” “remove the causes of war,” secure the frontier...

  7. PART THREE BORDERS OF CITIZENSHIP

    • NINE Race, Religion, and Naturalization: HOW THE WEST SHAPED CITIZENSHIP DEBATES IN THE RECONSTRUCTION CONGRESS
      (pp. 181-201)
      Joshua Paddison

      A PIECE OF BRUTALLY EFFECTIVE POLITICAL PROPAGANDA from 1867 reminds us that Reconstruction looked very diff erent in California than in Mississippi or Massachusetts. “The Reconstruction Policy of Congress, as Illustrated in California” was a lettersheet released by the Democratic Party of California during the gubernatorial race of 1867. Its target was the white man depicted at the bottom of the stack of humans in the cartoon’s center: George C. Gorham, Republican candidate for governor and proponent of suffrage for African American men.“Manhood aloneshall be the test of the right to a voice in the Government,” Gorham declares...

    • TEN Broadening the Battlefield: CONFLICT, CONTINGENCY, AND THE MYSTERY OF WOMAN SUFFRAGE IN WYOMING, 1869
      (pp. 202-223)
      Virginia Scharff

      OF ALL THE PLACES AND TIMES in the history of the United States that you might expect woman suffrage to have achieved its first triumph, Wyoming Territory, which enfranchised women in December 1869, likely ranks right down at the bottom. Surely, you’d think that women first won the right to vote in someplace seemingly more civilized and progressive, a Massachusetts or a New York, say, where women had access to education early and broadly, where the movement for the abolition of slavery and African American citizenship had been strongest, and where women had exercised a measure of power in social...

    • ELEVEN “Dis Land Which Jines Dat of Ole Master’s”: THE MEANING OF CITIZENSHIP FOR THE CHOCTAW FREEDPEOPLE
      (pp. 224-241)
      Fay A. Yarbrough

      “AFTER DE WAR I WAS WHAT YOU CALL a freedman. De Indians had to give all dey slaves forty acres of land. I’se allus lived on dis land which jines dat of Ole master’s and I’se never stayed away from it long at a time.” Thus did Frances Banks describe herself and the situation facing former slaves in Indian Territory when interviewed by a Works Progress Administration (WPA) field worker in 1938. Banks was born on a farm near Doaksville in the southeastern corner of the Choctaw Nation (in present-day Oklahoma) before the Civil War. Her parents had been held...

    • TWELVE “Citizen’s Clothing”: RECONSTRUCTION, HO-CHUNK PERSISTENCE, AND THE POLITICS OF DRESS
      (pp. 242-264)
      Stephen Kantrowitz

      DID CLOTHES MAKE THE CITIZEN? In the early post–Civil War years, there was little reason to think so. President Ulysses S. Grant’s 1869 inaugural address seemed to aim at something much grander, declaring support for any Indian policy “which tends to their civilization and ultimate citizenship.” Indeed, this handful of words outlined a project of staggering ambition: the transformation of fundamental aspects of Native people’s behavior, selfconception, and community; the dissolution of the tribes and the appropriation of their lands; and the incorporation of individual Indians into the citizenry. During the 1870s, that was precisely what the new Christian...

  8. EPILOGUE The Widest Implications of Disorienting the Civil War Era
    (pp. 265-274)
    Steven Hahn

    ONE OF THE GREAT IRONIES, AND ODDITIES, of American historical writing is the scant attention that has been paid to the Civil War and Reconstruction in the Trans-Mississippi West. Ever since the 1890s—when the historical profession was in its infancy and Frederick Jackson Turner suggested that the frontier was the crucible of American development—its challenge, mystique, environment, conquest, settlement, exploitation, forms of political confl ict, and ethnic diversity have been at the center of a great many debates about the country’s past and how to understand it. None of these debates has been more signifi cant than the...

  9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 275-278)
  10. SECONDARY BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 279-306)
  11. CONTRIBUTOR AFFILIATIONS
    (pp. 307-308)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 309-322)