The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 108
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108 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
An Immigrant Soldier in the Mexican War. By Frederick Zeh. Translated by William
J. Orr. Edited by William J. Orr and Robert Ryal Miller. (College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1995. Pp. xx+117. Introduction, epilogue,
notes, bibliography, index, list of illustrations, maps. ISBN o-89096-667-2,
Hunger drove Frederick Zeh, a recent immigrant from Germany, into the
ranks of the U.S. Army during the Mexican War. An intelligent twenty-three-
year-old native of Nuremberg, Zeh was assigned to the newly created U.S. How-
itzer and Rocket Company that accompanied Winfield Scott's column from Vera
Cruz to Mexico City. Discharged at the war's end, he traveled to California and
New York before settling down in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1862. His recollections of
the war appeared in serial form in that city's German publication, DerDeutsche Pi-
onier (The German Pioneer) in 1881. Zeh's wartime experiences are now avail-
Zeh's memoirs are a significant addition to both Mexican War studies and
U.S. military history. Not only does he tell a lucid and interesting account of
Scott's march from Vera Cruz to the Mexican capital and the battles along the
way but he also provides an unvarnished look at the American military from an
outsider's perspective. Tales of looting by regulars and the inept actions of West
Point-trained officers, something usually omitted from American accounts, fig-
ure prominently in his reminiscence. Accounts of the war by enlisted men-let
alone by immigrants-are but a small number of writings available on the war,
making Zeh's work as important as George Ballentine's An English Soldier in the
United States Army (1853).
William J. Orr and Robert Ryal Miller have edited Zeh's account well. They
take Zeh's story beyond the war years, from his early life in Germany to his death
in 1902 after being shuffled between relatives and an institution for destitute old
soldiers. They make Zeh's tale not just a story of a young man at war, but the sto-
ry of an immigrant who struggled to find a home in nineteenth-century Ameri-
ca. Texas A&M Press has augmented the text with fourteen illustrations and two
maps, all intended to draw attention to persons or places mentioned by Zeh. A
delight to read, this book should appeal to a wider audience than just students
of the war.
Texas Christian University RICHARD BRUCE WINDERS
Roemer's Texas: 1845-1847. By Ferdinand Roemer. Translated by Oswald
Mueller. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1995. Pp. xii+3o8. Preface 1983 and 1995,
geological preface 1983 and 1995, foreword, travelog, index. ISBN 1-
51158-040-3, $27.95, cloth.)
The reading public should welcome this reprint of the best travelog and scien-
tific observations about Texas at the time of annexation to the United States, al-
beit from a German point of view. The analytical mind of the German author
offers an even-handed view of social and political events, the great strength of this
book for the general reader, along with his scientific details about fauna, flora,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/136/?rotate=270: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.