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Race and Radicalism in the Union Army

Race and Radicalism in the Union Army

Mark A. Lause
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 208
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    Race and Radicalism in the Union Army
    Book Description:

    In this compelling portrait of interracial activism, Mark A. Lause documents the efforts of radical followers of John Brown to construct a triracial portion of the Federal Army of the Frontier. Mobilized and inspired by the idea of a Union that would benefit all, black, Indian, and white soldiers fought side by side, achieving remarkable successes in the field. Against a backdrop of idealism, racism, greed, and the agonies and deprivations of combat, Lause examines links between radicalism and reform, on the one hand, and racialized interactions among blacks, Indians, and whites, on the other._x000B__x000B_Lause examines how this multiracial vision of American society developed on the Western frontier. Focusing on the men and women who supported Brown in territorial Kansas, Lause examines the impact of abolitionist sentiment on relations with Indians and the crucial role of nonwhites in the conflict. Through this experience, Indians, blacks, and whites began to see their destinies as interdependent, and Lause discusses the radicalizing impact of this triracial Unionism upon the military course of the war in the upper Trans-Mississippi._x000B__x000B_The aftermath of the Civil War destroyed much of the memory of the war in the West, particularly in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The opportunity for an interracial society was quashed by the government's willingness to redefine the lucrative field of Indian exploitation for military and civilian officials and contractors. _x000B__x000B_Assessing the social interrelations, ramifications, and military impact of nonwhites in the Union forces, Race and Radicalism in the Union Army explores the extent of interracial thought and activity among Americans in this period and greatly expands the historical narrative on the Civil War in the West.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09170-4
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    On July 17, 1863, a little army of Indian, black, and white soldiers advanced against a much larger force. They moved south across the prairies, alongside the Texas Road, toward Elk Creek, just north of the Honey Springs Depot in the Creek Nation of the Indian Territory. In the heat of the day, the soldiers “had stripped themselves of everything in the way of clothing and equipment that could be dispensed with,” leaving piles in the rear of the line. Artillerists “stripped to their undershirts and pant,” but the African Americans “had even taken off their shirts, and their black...

  5. ONE The Shadow of John Brown
    (pp. 9-24)

    John Brown and other abolitionists, black and white, discussed many questions beyond slavery. William Addison Phillips remembered that, among those who knew him, Brown openly criticized the nation’s “forms of social and political life.” He “condemned the sale of land as chattel” and “thought society ought to be organized on a less selfish basis; for, while material interests gained something by the deification of pure selfishness, men and women lost much by it.” According to one of his sons, Brown’s “favorite theme was that of theCommunity plan of cooperative industry, in which all should labor for the common good;...

  6. TWO A Free West in a Slave Nation
    (pp. 25-45)

    Some four years before the 1863 battle, the Creeks near Honey Springs probably took little notice of Dick Hinton as he rode along the Texas Road. As did other followers of John Brown, he believed that a slave rebellion might detonate a general uprising of nonslaveholding southerners and specifically that “the best place of attack would be in the South-Western States.” So he passed through the area with a topographical eye for militarily strategic positions from which to fight such a war. The San Antonio socialist Dr. Karl Adolphus Douai had suggested to Frederick Law Olmsted—that Fourierist designer of...

  7. THREE War in the Far West
    (pp. 46-66)

    The day after Christmas in 1861, a small army closed on thousands of civilian Indian Territory residents at Chustenahlah, or Patriot Hills. By late afternoon the Texans rolled over the few outgunned and outnumbered warriors who had challenged them. As the Indians scattered, nobody had much detailed information about how many they left behind. The Confederate authorities reported capturing about 160 women, children, and runaway slaves and killing 250 of those who had resisted them. The ratio of killed to captured underscores accounts that the white soldiers slaughtered many Creeks and blacks. The rebels tried to return some runaway slaves...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. FOUR Whiteness Challenged
    (pp. 67-85)

    Contemporaries knew that the campaign they witnessed in 1862 scarcely fit the army’s pattern. The volunteers’ uniforms seemed either too large or too small, and the typical mounted soldier rode a pony “so small that his feet appeared to always touch the ground.” The standard-issue high-crowned, stiff black wool hat of the western armies settled not on their heads but on the mass of long hair falling over the shoulders. As the unit moved along, someone at the head of the column would begin “a prolonged, shrill note” that echoed through the ranks to the rear as “a short, sharp...

  10. FIVE The Union as It Never Was
    (pp. 86-107)

    In 1863 Richard J. Hinton, the adjutant and self-appointed publicist for the First Kansas Colored, appealed to Senator Jim Lane, saying, “We want to form part of the Indian Division, provided it have a radical chief.” He suggested that if William A. Phillips were to take command, “his brains will make any movement successful, while his modesty will not make a success offensive to any one.”¹ Hinton, Phillips, and the other radicals planned a project directly dependent on the mutual cooperation and respect of black, red, and white soldiers.

    This kind of project obviously assumed an importance both political and...

  11. SIX Beyond the Map
    (pp. 108-126)

    A year after the victories at Honey Springs—nine months after driving the rebels from Fort Smith and Little Rock—the Federals’ authorities issued orders to evacuate the Indian Territory and Arkansas. Astonishingly, military officialdom found that the vast expanses won at by blood and sword had become administratively inconvenient and logistically cumbersome. Indian, black, and white Southerners who had risked all to deny these lands to the Confederacy now faced plans to abandon them and their homes. At almost the same time, General Francis J. Herron, a veteran division commander in the old Army of the Frontier, clandestinely reported...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 127-140)

    Years after the war, a former slave named Tom W. Woods explained its outcome, visible in the possibilities posed by the presidency of the railsplitter Abraham Lincoln. “Lady,” he told a WPA interviewer in the 1930s, “if de nigger hadn’t been set free dis country wouldn’t ever been what it is now! Poor white folks wouldn’t never had a chance. De slave holders had most of de money and de land and dey wouldn’t let de poor white folks have a chance to own any land or anything else to speak of.” He continued, “White folks as well as niggers...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 141-182)
  14. Index
    (pp. 183-186)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 187-192)