The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 114
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114 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
should join the cavalry. Thus he signed up with Company E, 8th Texas Cavalry,
more popularly known as Terry's Texas Rangers. Captured by the Yankees,
Fletcher escaped from his holding cell and spent the remainder of the war ha-
rassing William T. Sherman's rear guard.
Returning to his former home near Beaumont, Texas, Fletcher bore no ill
will toward his old enemies, following the advice of one North Carolinian that
they should "Grease and slide back into the Union" (p. 195). An innovative,
hard-working man, he became a leader in the developing East Texas lumber in-
dustry. During his sixties, he set down his reminiscences, which were first pub-
lished in 1908. As Fletcher vividly recounts, most Confederates spent more time
catching lice and foraging ("in civil life it is called 'shoplifting"' [p. 11]) for
food than they did fighting. And like many of his fellow Texans of the period,
William Fletcher was fiercely independent in thought and deed, criticizing his
share of Confederate generals. Blaming the war on "unbalanced leaders" (p.
115), he opposed slavery but believed he was right in fighting to defend his
state's interests against what he perceived to be the demands of the federal gov-
Civil War historians have long recognized Fletcher's honest, colorful ac-
count as a classic. The present edition is supplemented by noted Civil War
historian Richard Wheeler's brief introduction and research notes, along with
an afterword by Vallie Fletcher Taylor (the author's great-granddaughter).
The book is remarkably quotable ("I was a moderately fast runner, especially
when scared," [p. 132]), and I found rereading Fletcher's reminiscences to
be even more enjoyable and enlightening than discovering them for the first
Texas A &M University-Corpus Christi ROBERT WOOSTER
Fallen Guidon: The Saga of Confederate General Jo Shelby's March to Mexico. By Edwin
Adams Davis. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995. Pp.
xi+173. Acknowledgments, illustrations, maps, methods, materials. ISBN o-
89o096-683-4, cloth. -684-2, paper.)
This popular history provides a readable narrative on a neglected period of
the Civil War. Originally published in 1962, Fallen Guidon covers the Confeder-
ate exodus to Mexico led by Gen. Joseph Orville Shelby. Edwin Adams Davis ca-
pably demonstrates that the surrender at Appomattox galvanized some
Confederates to pursue exile rather than capitulation. Shelby and his followers
opted to enter Mexico and eventually served Emperor Maximilian, but the au-
thor fails to mention that the Confederates were a political liability to the emper-
or rather than a military asset.
The book suffers from the problems that afflict many popular historical ac-
counts. The author supplies no documentation for his study and the work
provides only a few paragraphs on sources. As a result, passages containing di-
alogue better suited for a romantic novel come into question. Caveats aside,
the author successfully achieves his task in writing a lively chronicle of Shelby.
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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/m1/142/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.