The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 124
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
mettle in the furious fighting in the Monterrey campaign. And they engaged
Mexican guerrillas behind the lines in little-known places. Yet these same "Texas
Mounted Rangers" (as some companies called themselves), and Mexican civil-
ians exchanged insults, stole items from each other, and knifed and shot each
other in bloody encounters. Still, at the end of this conflict of hatred and
revenge, the horse soldiers from Texas did not kill Antonio L6pez de Santa
Anna. They just lined the road and watched his carriage disappear. The North
American invasion was over.
In the historiography of the Mexican War some general histories have given lit-
tle coverage to the role of the troops from Texas. Spurlin's volume fills this void.
Historians need to consider the judicious assessment by the author that Texan
volunteers listed in the appendices "were essential to the American army's tri-
umphs in Mexico, indispensable in the anti-guerrilla campaigns, and their fron-
tier service allowed regular troops to perform duties in the war zone" (p. 140).
Jamestown Community College HaroldJ. Weiss Jr.
Leander McNelly, Texas Ranger: He Just Kept on Keepin' On. By Bob Scott. (Austin:
Eakin Press, 1998. Pp. x+222. Illustrations, preface, notes, bibliography,
index. ISBN 1-571-68176-0. $18.95, paper.)
This work can be approached from several vantage points: the career of Leander
H. McNelly, the role of the Texas Rangers, and the craft of the historian. Simply
put, historical writers must collect information, analyze the data, and present their
findings in a readable form. In this book, Robert Scott, author and businessman,
presents McNelly's story in lively prose, but he relies too much on evidence collect-
ed from secondary sources and two memoirs written by George Durham and
Napoleon A. Jennings. Both firsthand accounts contain questionable historical
sequences. Scott failed to consider the records left by McNelly in the Texas State
Archives and in the Center for American History at the University of Texas at
Austin. Such research tends to mix history and folklore in undesirable ways.
McNelly played three important roles in mid-nineteenth-century America: a
Confederate soldier in the Civil War, an officer of the Reconstruction State Police
in Texas, and a captain of a ranging company in that state. In covering this
record the strengths and weaknesses of the book are fourfold. First, the author
starts the work with a dramatic presentation of McNelly's place in the campaign
of Confederate General Henry Sibley to take New Mexico Territory in the Civil
War. But Scott gives no genealogical information about McNelly before that time.
The frail and sickly McNelly was not a Texan by birth. Second, for the Civil War
years from 1863 to 1865, the author's sketchy account is less valuable than the
entry on McNelly in the New Handbook of Texas. Third, Scott accepts the tradition-
al view of Reconstruction in Texas as corrupt, degrading, and violent. But con-
trary to the author's position, the records show that McNelly served as one of the
captains of the State Police from 1870 to 1873 and accepted numerous field
assignments to capture lawbreakers and assist local officials in combating crime
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/152/?rotate=270: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.