The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Book Reviews

Covering the years from 1848 to 18go-when the U.S. Army main-
tained its strongest and most significant frontier presence in Texas-
this work begins with a chapter on the establishment of the state's many
forts and ends with one on the closing of the forts and the passing of
the military frontier. In between are treatments of subjects associated
with the everyday life of the enlisted soldiers, including sections on
laundresses, dependents, civilians, routine duty, uniforms, weapons,
life in the field, cultural activities, entertainment, and post society. Scat-
tered through the volume are seventy black-and-white drawings by
Jack Jackson that illustrate many of these topics.
This work is well organized and the writing is straightforward. The
author has found much information in both primary and secondary
sources. It is clear that here is a well-trained young historian who knows
how to practice his craft. Robert Wooster and Texas A&M University
Press have produced an attractive volume.
New Mexico State University MONROE BILLINGTON
The Army in Texas during Reconstruction, 1865-187o. By William L.
Richter. (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1987.
Pp. xiv+ 265. Preface, introduction, maps, tables, conclusion, notes,
index. $28.50.)
In this volume, William Richter examines the role of the United
States Army in Texas between the end of the Civil War and the re-
establishment of civil government under Edmund J. Davis in 1870. The
author investigates a broad range of military functions and shows that
the army conducted itself well with regard to frontier defense, suppres-
sion of outlawry, and administration of many civil functions. The heart
of the book, however, is an assessment of the political activity of the
army. Politics provides the basic outline of the narrative, and Richter
divides his story into three periods, corresponding to the rule of the
three commanders whom he concludes had the greatest political im-
pact on the state, Philip H. Sheridan, Charles Griffin, and Joseph J.
Reynolds.
Richter's appraisal of the army and its political role is traditional,
conforming to the William A. Dunning interpretation, in its criticism
both of the actions of officers and of the basic policy pursued in the
South. His argument centers on two major conclusions. The first is that
the various military commanders and many of their subordinates were
unjustified in their repeated interference in civil affairs, ranging from
local criminal proceedings to the personnel matters of state govern-
ment. The author's indictment of the officers includes a general criti-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed March 6, 2015.