Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Confederate authorities, leaving the episode, as McGowen acknowledges in his
choice of chapter title, "The Blackest Crime in Texas Warfare." The author's evi-
dence for the quality of the regiment's leadership and cohesion is convincing, as
is his subtext that many Texas Germans actively supported the Confederacy,
though apparently more from essentially localist concepts of good citizenship
than from nationalism. His hypothesis that "the Civil War irrevocably changed
the tactics and ideas of cavalry employment" 9p. 166) is not fleshed out, however;
it is not clear whether McGowen means that American forces adopted European
methods (presumably including an emphasis on the use of the saber), or vice-
versa, but neither is quite true. One is also dismayed by the unnecessarily melo-
dramatic assertion (p. 19) that Union forces were "bent upon ... [the] rapine,
and destruction of Texas." These limitations notwithstanding, readers will find
McGowen's book engrossing and thought-provoking, a stimulating study of large
questions in microcosm.
U.S. Military Academy Samuel Watson
Wooden Ships from Texas: A World War I Saga. By Richard W. Bricker. (College
Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998. Pp. xvii+216. Illustrations,
tables, preface, acknowledgments, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-
89o96-827-6. $29.95, cloth.)
According to author Richard Bricker, "Accounts of American sailing ships
ignore Texas maritime history" (p. xiv). That seems to be true, because after an
online search of several university libraries, as well as the Library of Congress cat-
alog, I found no similar titles or subjects. Bricker's book is thorough. He has
researched fourteen specific ships that were built in Texas from about 1914
throughout the years of World War I.
Many readers of Texas history may not realize that Texas had such a ship-
building history. The ships described in this book were built of East Texas pine.
During the First World War, all sea-going vessels of any size were involved in
the war effort. Henry Piaggio, builder of the "Wooden Ships from Texas," need-
ed a way to get lumber, East Texas pine, to his birth country Italy for their own
war efforts. Hence, his plan to build sailing ships for that purpose materialized.
The book is quite technical and would appeal to persons with a background in
sailing or to a Texas history student who might want to explore a less-known
facet of Texas's past. The author uses exact sailing terminology, describes the
licensing process, explains ship personnel requirements, and recounts the story
of each vessel. The author relates instances that support his research. For exam-
ple, even though the ships were sailing vessels, by the early 1900s most ships had
at least one gasoline-fueled engine for maneuvering. These engines caused
requirements for licensed personnel to change. The number of crew and offi-
cers was determined by the type and size of the vessel. Problems developed
because experienced sailors were in short supply during World War I, and most
civilian sailors were reluctant to sign on to a ship that they feared might
encounter a German U-boat.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed December 21, 2014.