The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

He also provides useful data on the fight against dissent elsewhere in North
Texas, which differed from the Great Hanging only in scale, not in ruthlessness,
and describes the northern response to Texas vigilantism.
McCaslin has almost certainly accomplished a feat few historians can claim: he
seems to have examined every shred of evidence connected to his topic. More
importantly, he has risen above purely local history to offer a meaningful explo-
ration of the internal tensions that plagued Texas as well as the rest of the Con-
federacy from the beginning of the war. His is a unique contribution to the
growing literature of loyalty to and dissent against southern values and the Con-
Marquette Unzversity JAMES MARTEN
The Campazgns of Walker's Texas Dzvzszon. By J. P. Blessington. (Austin: State
House Press, 1994. Pp. xxx+332. Appendix, index. ISBN 1-88051-004-9.
This delightful and informative book first appeared in 1875, when Joseph
Palmer Blessington decided to publish his recollections of the Civil War. Like
many other memoirists writing in the decades after the war, Blessington printed
this work at his own expense, and could only afford to print a limited number.
Widely regarded as the best first-hand account of Walker's Texas Division and a
standard reference work, Blessington's book has reappeared twice since its origi-
nal publication, once in 1968 and again in 1983. Each reprint produced only a
few hundred additional copies, and finding one became virtually impossible. As
general interest in the Civil War west of the Mississippi River increases, students
of the war will welcome this third reprint. Moreover, this 1994 edition includes
two essays: "A Brief History of Walker's Texas Division" by Norman D. Brown
and 'Joseph P. Blessington and His Book" by T. Michael Parrish. For the reader
who wants more information on the unit, there is a bibliography listing other
works about Walker's Division.
Born in Ireland in 1841, Blessington moved to Texas in 186o and in May
1862 joined the Sixteenth Texas Infantry, a regiment that became part of John
G. Walker's division. For most of the war the unit included three brigades of
Texas infantry, making it the largest single unit of Texas troops. Fighting exclu-
sively in the Trans-Mississippi Department, the division was on the move contin-
ually throughout 1863 and 1864, earning the soldiers the well-deserved
nickname "Walker's Greyhounds." Blessington's account covers the division's ac-
tions in Louisiana and Arkansas, and is particularly useful on several engage-
ments west of the Mississippi, including Nathaniel Banks's invasion of Louisiana
by way of the Red River in the spring of 1864, and the Battle of Jenkins's Ferry,
Arkansas, in April.
Blessington tells the story of this command primarily from the diary he kept
during the war, but he expanded his tale with testimony from former comrades-
in-arms and the official battle reports written by both Confederate and Union
commanders. His personal observations of other Texas units also increases the



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 21, 2015.