The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984 Page: 336
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
shared with Davis an intense disapproval of defeatists and a strong
reluctance to believe that the Confederacy could fail. Petty avowed
his intention to defend Texas to the last extremity. If nothing else
availed, he was ready, like Breckinridge and Jubal A. Early, to go
into exile rather than take an oath of allegiance to the hated United
Petty's letters are of less interest for the study of military engage-
ments than for their documentation of camp life and the social, po-
litical, and familial attitudes of a company-grade officer. Such edu-
cated, literate, and zealous young men were often the most enthusiastic
supporters of their cause in the federal as well as the Confederate
Norman D. Brown has placed the text of Petty's letters in an in-
formative setting that provides both a narrative framework and a
thorough exegesis of the allusions in the letters. The lavish design of
the volume is enhanced by the drawings of John Groth, whose eye for
character at the critical moment partakes of the subtlety of Winslow
Homer, as well as the exaggerated muscular tension of Thomas Hart
Benton. O. Scott Petty has done scholars and booklovers a service in
making these family documents available in so impressive a form.
As Brown acknowledges, the Trans-Mississippi Department cannot
be considered a pivotal theater of Civil War operations. Yet as we read
Elijah Petty's letters expressing his eagerness to fight Yankees, urging
his wife to put her capital into possessions he felt would be of perma-
nent value-such as sugar, salt, land, and slaves-and finally, deplor-
ing the widespread lapse of dedication to the Confederate cause, we
see the extent to which the war in the Trans-Mississippi exemplified
the states of mind and morale prevalent elsewhere in the Confederacy.
Petty and many others like him having been killed by 1865, it seems
unlikely that Jefferson Davis would have found the last ditch much
better manned in Texas than it had been in Georgia or the Carolinas.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge CHARLES ROYSTER
Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas. By Carl H. Moneyhon. (Aus-
tin: The University of Texas Press, 1980. Pp. xvi+319. Ac-
knowledgments, introduction, photographs, maps, tables, appen-
dices, notes, bibliographical essay, index. $22.50.)
In this chronological treatment of Texas during Reconstruction,
Carl H. Moneyhon convincingly delineates the reasons for the brief
life and sudden collapse of the state's nascent Republican party.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984, periodical, 1983/1984; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/m1/388/?rotate=90: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.