The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996

Book Reviews

welcome, butJarnigan adds that family and personal ties were just as important.
Others explore Americana's persistence and its impact. Cyrus B. Dawsey
asserts that Protestantism bound the community, despite its increasingly mixed
ethnicity, while John C. Dawsey discusses changes in self-perception among the
descendants. They blended into the social fabric of the region, but at the same
time they retained distinctive traits. Michael B. Montgomery and Cecil A. Melo,
for example, analyze the "quaint English dialect" (p. 1) that many speak. The
language persists in part because it is taught in Protestant schools, which togeth-
er with the churches are the most obvious legacy of the Confederates. Wayne
Flynt and the Dawseys both focus on their role in facilitating the entry of
Protestantism into Brazil.
Most of the authors used Brazilian sources as well as those in English, though
none used government documents. The text includes a good historiographical
review and is reinforced with profuse notes that add much useful information.
Too, there is an memoir by Eugene C. Harter of Jimmy Carter's visit to
Americana, and James M. Gravois and Elizabeth J. Weisbrod provide a terrific
annotated bibliography.
While Americana may not have been the most important colony of ex-
Confederates in Latin America, despite the dust jacket's assertion, this is never-
theless a fascinating study. This timely look at a cultural infusion whose effects
are becoming as obscure as its origins sheds light on a poorly understood aspect
of the Civil War.
High Point University RICHARD B. MCCASLIN
Hero of Beecher Island. By David Dixon. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,
1994. Pp. x+257. Acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliographical
essay, index. ISBN 0-80321-700-5. $32.50.)
George A. Forsyth's fame rests on his surviving a blunder wherein he nearly
destroyed himself and fifty other men. In 1868 Forsyth's mentor, Philip
Sheridan, assigned him field command of fifty frontiersmen charged with
patrolling the Plains. Forsyth, lacking experience with Indians and ignoring sub-
ordinates' advice, insisted on tracking a large contingent of Sioux, Cheyenne,
and Arapaho. When the Indians, including some five hundred to six hundred
fighting men, turned on the scouts, the latter took refuge on an Arikaree River
island. Four scouts died. Forsyth was wounded in the leg and head. Nine days
later, thanks to several men who slipped away and sought help, the army rescued
the survivors.
This Battle of Beecher Island served no strategic purpose but it captured the
American imagination and proved useful propaganda for pro-military, anti-
Indian partisans. As Dixon puts it, "the Arikaree fight was transformed ... into
an iconic symbol of the frontier military's selfless devotion to progress and civi-
lization" and Forsyth "was touted as one of the army's ideal soldiers, brave, deter-
mined, and devoted to honor and duty" (p. 90o). Foolhardiness evidently had its
rewards.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed July 29, 2014.