The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 399

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Book Reviews

years of the Civil War. Chacon also relates his experiences as a volun-
teer army officer engaged in bloody Indian campaigns during the fifth
and sixth decades of this often turbulent century. Moreover, Meketa
has supplemented these valuable memoirs, which are rich in anecdote
and detail, with a number of relevant documents and lengthy editorial
comment in order to give her overall account the essential continuity
that a study like this needs.
Although Chacon's insights are important because they give a native
viewpoint, it would be difficult to argue that they were completely rep-
resentative. Chacon was a distinctive New Mexican in many ways. He
was educated at a time when illiteracy was widespread in the territory.
He was also a member of New Mexico's elite rico class, although the
wealth of his old and distinguished family was largely dissipated by the
end of the Civil War, one of Chacon's motivations for ultimately leaving
the land of his ancestors. Chacon's views were not necessarily typical of
New Mexico's much more numerous poorer classes, who undoubtedly
felt more alienated from the ruling Anglos than did Chacon's ricos.
Chacon, nonetheless, felt the discrimination that many New Mexico
Hispanos did in their contacts with Anglos. Even though he was placed
in command of Fort Stanton in 1864, he felt a number of slights be-
cause of his Spanish-speaking background and did not hesitate to ex-
press his hurt and resentment on several occasions, providing what
might be some of the more revealing insights into nineteenth-century
native life in these fascinating memoirs. Part of the problem at Fort
Stanton, as was true of many New Mexico army posts at this time, was
the regular army officers' feeling of superiority over their volunteer
counterparts. But, of course, these volunteer officers were very often
native to the Land of Enchantment.
Meketa's insights into New Mexican history are obvious in her edit-
ing. Although her favorable attitude toward Chacon is certainly under-
standable, she sometimes appears to regard naivete as a virtue in her
stout defense of this unquestionably noble New Mexican who was mis-
used on perhaps too many occasions. Her tendency to romanticize
Chacon and his times will, of course, be readily understood by New
Mexico aficionados.
University of Northern Colorado ROBERT W. LARSON
Early Days on the Bayou, x838-189o: The Life and Letters of Horace Dickin-
son Taylor. By Ellen Robbins Red. (Waco, Tex.: Texian Press, 1986.
Pp. xi+ 198. Preface, illustrations, epilogue, footnotes, index. $15.)


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 20, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.