The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Valor Across the Lone Star: The Congressional Medal of Honor in Frontzer Texas. By
Charles M. Neal Jr. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 2003. Pp.
xvi+491. Acknowledgments, foreword, map, illustrations, notes, bibliogra-
phy, appendices, index. ISBN 0-87611-184-3. $39.95, cloth.)
Charles Neal spent thirty years researching this book, and it shows. Seventy
pages of notes are followed by a forty-page bibliography; the result is a com-
prehensive examination of the sixty-seven men who won the Medal of Honor
in Texas, all between 1863 and 1891. Each chapter details one of the nine-
teen engagements in which these men earned the honor, followed by an ex-
planation of the process by which it was recommended and awarded. More
than ninety pages of individual biographies follow the chapters, presenting the
soldiers' lives before and after their awards. Appendices provide a chronologi-
cal list of the awards, a list of all Texans who have won the Medal of Honor, a
list of all honorees buried in Texas, a list of the locations where those who
won the award in Texas are buried, and two statistical summaries, of informa-
tion on those who won the award in Texas and of the number of awards made
for action in each state, foreign nation, or overseas area of operations. A map
shows the locations of the actions in Texas, with brief directions to each site.
The great majority of these cases (sixteen of the nineteen engagements, and
sixty-two of the sixty-seven recipients) occurred during the conquest of West
Texas and the Panhandle between 1869 and 1875. Two occurred during the
Civil War, and one in 1891, during operations enforcing American neutrality
laws against a revolutionary movement directed at Porfirio Diaz. Of the sixty-
seven men, only five were commissioned officers. Reflecting the army of the
time, more than a third were foreign-born; none had been born in Texas. Two
were born in Mexico: Black Seminole scouts. Three others were African Ameri-
can. More than 90 percent were literate. The operations in which they won the
honor varied; in eleven cases the honoree was the sole recipient of the medal;
in three cases three men did so together; in two cases six did so; and in three
cases larger numbers. The most famous of these were the fights on the Little
Washita, the north fork of the Red River, the Upper Washita, and Buffalo
Wallow.
These cases provide a series of snapshots of the Indian Wars in Texas, as well
as stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. The biographies and discussions of how
the awards were made provide many glimpses into the lives and career patterns
of soldiers and the army. The chapters are written from the point of view of
the Medal of Honor winners, based on their citations, reminiscences, and oth-
er official and private papers. The author has provided some context for and
transitions between each of the engagements examined in the chapters, but
Valor Across the Lone Star is primarily a narrative reference work, and as such it
is likely to be the last word on its subject.
United States Military Academy Samuel Watson
Giant Under the Hill: A History of the Spindletop Ozl Discovery at Beaumont, Texas
Igoz. Judith Walker Linsley, Ellen Walker Rienstra, Jo Ann Stiles. (Austin:

October

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed August 20, 2014.