The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 111

Book Reviews

the animal matter needed for the government nitre beds" (p. 636). As for
blacks, they inevitably invoked Ruffin's scorn and derision when they behaved
as real human beings by acting on their desire for freedom and a life of their
own. To his way of thinking, they were traitors as Confederates because they
fled behind Union lines; as soldiers they were cowards fit only for cannon fod-
der; and as a free people, they were lazy ingrates for refusing to stand by and
obey their ex-masters.
Most of his fellow whites failed to meet Ruffin's fanatical standards of South-
ern patriotism. Were they truly committed to the Southern cause, he insisted
that they would have destroyed all their property and burned all their cities be-
fore permitting these resources to fall into Yankee hands. Confederate generals
were either incompetent, or, like Robert E. Lee, too soft when it came to disci-
plining their troops. For his failure to have captured Yankee raiders executed
as common thieves and murderers, Jefferson Davis was denounced as weak and
indecisive. Ruffin wanted the Confederacy to wage a scorched-earth policy
down to the last man, woman, and child. Even if independence was achieved,
he felt that another battle would have to be fought. This one would be against
the pernicious, corrupting effects of universal suffrage (for white males) and
would seek to rid the Confederacy of "the tyranny and misrule of the worst of
our own people" (p. 300).
In the wake of Confederate defeat Ruffin was absolutely convinced that he
was now the slave of Yankee despotism. Accordingly, he committed suicide in
June 1865. He had lost control over everything that he valued in this world save
the means of choosing how he would leave it.
Unzverszty of North Carolna at Chapel Hill WILLIAM L. BARNEY
A River Swift and Deadly: The 36th "Texas" Infantry Division at the Rapido River. By
Lee Carraway Smith. (Austin: Eakin Press, 1989. Pp. viii + 200oo. Preface,
maps, illustrations, conclusion, appendix, notes, bibliography, index.
A river swift and deadly was the Rapido in Italy during January 20-22,
1944. Here Mark W. Clark's Fifth Army, using the "Texas" 36th Infantry Divi-
sion, tried to cross and drive the Germans from the Liri Valley. Despite warn-
ings from the division commander, Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker, that the task was
beyond the capabilities of one army division, Clark persisted, and a debacle
Lee Carraway Smith interviewed some one hundred veterans of the 36th,
mostly by telephone, who participated in the ill-advised crossing. She has done
her homework as to official records and printed sources and mixed them nicely
with "T"-Patch recollections. The result is a balanced and exciting account of
the events leading to, during, and after Clark's ordering of the Texas division
across an unfordable river into the heart of the waiting German defenses. The
proof of Clark's lack of soldierly savvy was demonstrated five months later
when it required six divisions to accomplish the task.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.