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

Book Reviews

the South were defeated" (pp. 45-46). In subsequent letters, Griffin inquires as
to the status of the slaves and also addresses the escape of his slave Abram, whom
he took with him to the front, to the Union lines and his dismay that Abram
would "desert" him. Griffin continually assures his wife that Abram would regret
his decision for the remainder of his life. Also in his correspondence, Griffin
describes his experiences during the Peninsula Campaign. In particular, he
notes the Battle of Seven Pines in which his command attacked a Union battery
on three separate occasions and was repulsed each time. In his letter, Griffin
believes that the Union position could have been taken were it not for the weak
will of his troops.
This collection provides the reader personal insight into the Civil War and
Reconstruction period through a compilation of missives from a Southern sol-
dier to his wife. The introductory chapter, written by Burton and McArthur, sup-
plies the background information necessary to comprehend the subsequent cor-
respondence. In addition, the editors furnish the reader with extensively anno-
tated footnotes, to accompany Griffin's letters, which include crucial historio-
graphical and primary source material and commentary for clarification.
Overall, Burton and McArthur have contributed an invaluable resource for the
study of the Civil War and Reconstruction era.
Lubbock Chrstzan Unzversity R. BLAKE DUNNAVENT
Black, Buckskin, and Blue: African-American Scouts and Soldiers on the Western Frontier.
By Art Burton. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1999. Pp. x+286. Muster rolls, illustra-
tions, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-57168-295-3. $24.95, cloth.)
Black, Buckskin, and Blue is an excellent book by an author who endeavors to
"examine the contributions of African-Americans who were scouts on the United
States western frontier during the 19th and early 2oth century" (p. vii). The
strength of Burton's work is the chronicle of events long forgotten in the annals
of U.S. western history. In addition to the courageous exploits of noted individu-
als, Seminole Indian Scouts, and the Ninth and Tenth Cavalries, Burton pro-
vides the reader with morsels of interesting facts, such as Custer's refusal to serve
as a lieutenant colonel with the segregated Tenth Cavalry and the origin of
"Blackjack" Pershing's nickname. Another fascinating bit of trivia is the revela-
tion that the original name of the black troops in the U.S. Army was "Wild
Buffaloes," which was given by the Cheyenne. Ultimately, the troops were
renamed "Buffalo Soldiers" by writer Frederic Remington. All of these interest-
ing details contribute greatly to the book.
Although Black, Buckskin, and Blue is a much-needed addition to the history of
the development of the western region of the United States, it does little toward
enhancing the legacy and historical image of the black soldiers. For example, it
emphasizes the agency on the part of African American scouts in consort with the
U.S. military to occupy Native American land and hasten the destruction of
Native American culture. It is problematic that Burton valorizes the deeds of
African American scouts that worked toward the benefit of the dominant culture.
This book's most obvious weakness is its lack of footnotes. Although this is a
well-researched book, its lack of documentation limits its use among scholars. I

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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 November 20, 2014.