The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

of the Republic (p. 2). Doniphan and his volunteers "shared an ethnocentric
egotism" that assumed an American victory against Mexico (ibid.).
Alexander Doniphan, a locally prominent Missouri lawyer, heeded President
James K. Polk's call for volunteers in the war against Mexico. Doniphan enlist-
ed as a private but soon found himself elected colonel of the First Regiment of
Missouri Mounted Volunteers. He did so for the protection of the newly
annexed Texas, expanding American domination to the Pacific coast, and
extending American political institutions into the newly acquired territory.
The Missourians formed the major portion of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny's
Army of the West, charged with the invasion and seizure of New Mexico.
Following that, the army would divide, with Doniphan and most of the volun-
teers striking southward into Chihuahua and Kearny and his regulars march-
ing on southern California. During the campaign Doniphan proved a quick
military study, eagerly and easily grasping drill and tactics. Equally important,
he proved himself adept at balancing military discipline against the indepen-
dent nature of his men. Moreover, Doniphan proved himself an able logisti-
cian and military governor, earning general praise from regular army officers
serving with him.
Doniphan's Epic March reveals much about nineteenth-century American soci-
ety through Colonel Doniphan's life and military exploits. Dawson has produced
a welcome addition to the historiographic record of the Mexican War that
should appeal to specialists and interested readers alike.
Texas Lutheran University RICARDO A. HERRERA
A Gentleman and an Officer: A Military and Social History of James B. Griffin's Czvl
War. Edited by Judith N. McArthur and Orville Vernon Burton, foreword by
James M. McPherson. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Pp.
xviii+362. Foreword, acknowledgments, editorial note, list of maps, abbrevi-
ations, illustrations, appendix, tables, index. ISBN 0-19509-311-9. $55.00,
cloth.)
In A Gentleman and an Officer, the editors provide a glimpse of the Civil War
and Reconstruction era in microcosm. Combining their expertise in this collec-
tion of letters, Burton, author of In My Father's House Are Many Mansions, and
McArthur, editor of Citizens at Last, analyze the historical significance of Griffin's
letters and their contributions to understanding this tumultuous period in
American history. This volume enables the reader to view not only a veteran's
perspective of the Civil War, but it is also "a valuable primary source on family,
kinship, friendship, class and status in a southern community" (p. 4).
With such a myriad of topics presented, only a few can possibly be included in
a brief essay. Yet, perhaps the most intriguing include Griffin's beliefs about the
causes of the war, his paternalistic attitudes toward his slaves, and his interpreta-
tion of combat. Concerning the war's causes, Griffin penned to his wife that he
believed that the South was engaged in a conflict "for liberty and indepen-
dence," which mirrors the reasons why the colonists fought during the American
Revolution. According to the editors, he "wrote not of the threat to African
American slavery but of the danger of political and economic slavery for whites if

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed August 22, 2014.