364 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Like most of North Central Texas, the Caney Creek area of Fannin
County was a region of divided loyalties when state secession demanded a
decision few wanted to make. The decisions made were difficult-Fannin
County had voted against secession by a sizable majority. Initially most
eligible men joined local militia companies, others sought to avoid service
in the most expeditious manner possible under the circumstances, while still
others enlisted in the service when recruiting began at Bonham in July,
1861. Among those who enlisted as privates was A. L. Nelms, whose letters
to his wife provide the focus for this book.
Ultimately the Caney Creek boys were organized into the Thirty-fourth
Texas Cavalry, although they spent most of their service time as dismounted
troops. From the beginning of the conflict the Texas unit was the bane of
its many commanders; frontier individualists found it difficult to adapt to
the regimentation of the military. After tasting battle at Prairie Grove,
Arkansas, the Thirty-fourth was dismounted and used as foot soldiers, a
development which led to a wave of desertion. Not until Texas was threat-
ened by invasion did the unit distinguish itself; at Mansfield and Sabine
Crossroads the misfits from Texas had their moment of glory.
The strength of this book lies in the sensitive treatment the author gives
to the personal lives of the southern soldier and his folks at home. The
selected letters illuminate the tragedy of the war, the divided loyalties of
the foot soldier, the problems of desertion, and the tribulation of the soldiers'
loved ones. The basic weakness of the book is the failure of the author to
pinpoint the sources of specific information. Such footnotes as exist are
merely explanatory in nature.
North Texas State University JACK B. SCROGGS
Lucadia Pease & The Governor, Letters: 1850-1857. Edited by Katherine
Hart and Elizabeth Kemp. (Austin: The Encino Press, 1974. Pp. xii+
350. Illustrations, notes. $12.50.)
This publication represents the first significant effort to make available
in print a segment of the extensive Pease correspondence in the Austin
Public Library. The publication contains the letters written by Elisha Mar-
shall Pease and his wife, the former Lucadia Christina Niles, a distant
cousin, to each other and to members of the family during the first six and
one-half years of their marriage. Included in the present edition are the
letters of Lucadia's sister Juliet Niles written during her visit to Texas.
These describe vividly and often critically her impression of life in a small
town in Texas.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed April 28, 2015.