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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Book Reviews 415
war, or unfavorable comments on fellow Americans-especially on the un-
disciplined volunteer forces, which were generally despised by both the U.S.
regulars and the Mexicans. Dana's paragraphs in which he expresses sexual
yearnings for Sue could sometimes go into contemporary fiction without seem-
ing out of place.
Made public here are some other unexpected personal details relating to a
disorganized, often depressed, and helpless wife, and to burdensome personal
debts. As for other details characteristic of his writing consider this: "There are
millions of flies here (on Corpus Christi Bay). . . . They ... fly into our noses
and mouths, get into our eatables on their passages from the plate to the
mouth" (p. 16).
At Cerro Gordo, Dana was seriously wounded. He recovered and became a
major general in the Civil War. In 1986 the United States Military Academy
located and bought Dana's letters. They have been edited by Indiana Univer-
sity professor Robert H. Ferrell, whose research included work at the Amon
Carter Museum and the University of Texas at Arlington.
Soldiers of the Old Army. By Victor Vogel. (College Station: Texas A&M Univer-
sity Press, 1990. Pp. xi+ 13. Introduction, epilogue, appendices, index, il-
lustrations. $22.50.)
The accomplishments of the armed forces during the Second World War
have led to a tendency to ignore the preceding period, when the military lan-
guished figuratively and literally in obscurity. One can read about MacArthur
dealing with Bonus Marchers, or Billy Mitchell's trial, but few opportunities
exist to explore other aspects of the military during this period. Victor Vogel,
with Soldzers of the Old Army, has produced one.
Soldiers is an unusual book. A half century later, Vogel describes army life in
the 1930s for enlisted men. Soldiers is not a memoir, however; Vogel includes
little information and few personal reminiscences about himself. Rather, the
book is a collection of anecdotes, stories, and facts, mostly about army life at
Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Vogel provides an interesting picture
of a San Antonio in transition from a nineteenth-century "cowtown" to a twen-
tieth-century metropolis.
Vogel covers a wide range of material, including foreign service, living quar-
ters and barracks life, training, and army athletics. What he describes, however,
is an army, like San Antonio, in flux-one making the transition, as Russell
Weigley suggests, from a frontier constabulary to a modern war-fighting force.
This change is particularly obvious when in one chapter Vogel tells of the last
days of the army horse, while the next chapter contains the beginnings of
If the army Vogel describes is in transition, it is quite clear which army he
prefers. Soldiers was written with definite feelings of nostalgia. Light and hu-
morous elements are emphasized, such as deer hunting in Real County. Where
the rougher elements of Army life intrude, including harsh conditions and low

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 1, 2016.

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