The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Book Reviews

ing, is the first of a projected two-volume chronological military history of Texas.
Volume II will cover 1838-1839.
Although Volume I does include two and a half chapters on the Texas Revolu-
tion, its primary focus is on Indian fighting and the Ranger units, irregular com-
mands and hapless victims involved. This, of course, has long been a popular
subject but Moore presents us with new details gleaned from heretofore-under-
utilized primary sources such as the Republic Claims Papers (now searchable on-
line and available on microfilm through interlibrary loan), Pension Papers, etc.
This enabled him to place particular units at certain locations at definite times
and recreate company rosters when the muster rolls did not survive. At times he
also gives us wonderful nuggets of information such as the comparative prices of
gun caps and flints on the frontier.
Rangers also dominate his treatment of the Revolution. Moore emphasizes the
activities of those who can be categorized as Rangers much more than the con-
tributions of the volunteers or regulars. He makes certain that his readers know
that thirteen men who rode to the relief of the Alamo from Gonzales were enlist-
ed in George C. Kimbell's Ranger Company. Similarly, he makes the point that
some of the veterans of San Jacinto (including one of his ancestors) had inter-
rupted their Ranger service to fight Santa Anna.
A challenge with writing this type of history is that there are so many different
actors about whom so little is known and engaged in similar activities that the
prose can all too easily seem repetitive. So it seems here. Some incidents, such as
the raid on Parker's Fort and the Stone House Fight are well developed because
Moore is well acquainted with the contemporary narratives and memoirs of the
participants. For the most part, however, Savage Frontzer reads more like a time-
line than a narrative history. This shortcoming is offset somewhat by appropriate
illustrations, good maps, numerous rosters, and a pretty fair index.
A more serious criticism is that the editing was inadequate. There are inappro-
priate phrases such as "[t] he volunteers were drummed out of service" when re-
ferring to honorable discharges (p. 29), and misinformation such as the
publication date of Walter Prescott Webb's The Texas Rangers (p. xv).
Savage Frontzer may not be great literature but it is a very serviceable reference
work and I hope Mr. Moore completes Volume II soon.
Harms County Records Center Paul R. Scott
Defendzng the Borders: The Texas Rangers, 1848-1861. By Frederick Wilkins.
(Austin: State House Press, 2oo1. Pp. xiii+194. Illustrations, preface, ac-
knowledgments, endnotes, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-880510-76-6.
$27.95, cloth.)
In this work Frederick Wilkins, well-known author and military figure, has pro-
duced a readable study of the Texas Rangers during the years between the U.S.-
Mexican War and the American Civil War. In this time period the governors of
the Lone Star State faced serious financial difficulties in trying to keep ranging

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed September 19, 2014.