The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 149
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implications beyond this remote and desolate setting. Recently, historians con-
cerned with Texas and the Southwest have shown a heightened interest in the
Army of New Mexico's expedition and its impact in the region. These two docu-
ment collections seek to provide insights into the conduct of the campaign, the
personalities involved, and the intertwining of conditions in Southwest Texas
and operations in New Mexico. Both begin with detailed introductions that
address the background of the documents involved. The editors, Jerry
Thompson and John P. Wilson, have extensive backgrounds in the history of
Texas and the Southwest.
Dr. Thompson, the dean of arts and humanities at Texas A&M International
University at Laredo, has devoted much of his scholarly career studying Gen.
Henry H. Sibley and his ill-fated New Mexico campaign. The Lost Letterbook com-
plements his biography of Sibley: Confederate General of the West (Northwestern
State University Press, 1987). It consists of 147 individual documents-most of
them correspondence by Sibley or his adjutant, Maj. Alexander M. Jackson.
Sometime after the retreat from New Mexico, they came into the possession of
one of Sibley's junior officers, Lt. Timothy Nettles, who preserved and passed
them on to his heirs until their discovery and publication. Only eight of the
documents have previously appeared in print. They provide little that is new
concerning Sibley as a strategist and leader. Thompson and other scholars have
rigorously examined those weaknesses and personality flaws that contributed to
his failure in New Mexico. What these letters do provide is insights into the
manner in which Sibley organized and equipped the Army of New Mexico and
his relations with military and civilian officials of the Department of Texas and
in the Rio Grande area. Whatever his drawbacks as a field commander, these
letters do show Sibley as a competent administrator aware of the problems
involved with taking an expedition into hostile territory. This collection shows
only one side of the conversation. Thompson and Wilson provide no annota-
tions that show the issues involved in the letters or how they were resolved.
Consequently, this source is most useful to those familiar with other primary
sources, particularly the 128-volume War of the Rebellion: A Compzlation of the
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (hereafter referred to as
When the Texans Came has a much wider scope. It covers the full range of
events in the New Mexico theatre. Most of the 282 documents listed come from
regional collections in Texas and New Mexico and cover both Union and
Confederate perspectives. It includes not only official correspondence but also
some eyewitness accounts from letters written by soldiers on both sides.
Common threads in these documents, particularly those from Confederate
sources, are economic conditions in Southwest Texas and the availability of sup-
plies for the Army of New Mexico, political instability and tension on the border
border with Chihuahua, conditions in the Texas regiments in New Mexico, and
relations between Texas and the Confederate government in Richmond.
Historians with an interest in Texas's role in the Civil War will find these two
sources useful for the information provided on the state's wartime resources and
logistics, the performance of Texas units in New Mexico, and the wartime per-
formance of the state government. They should complement the Official Records
series. Although neither collection contains any serious revelations on the war in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/177/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.