Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest

Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest

by Donald S. Frazier


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For decades before the Civil War, Southern writers and warriors had been urging the occupation and development of the American Southwest. When the rift between North and South had been finalized in secession, the Confederacy moved to extend their traditions to the west–a long-sought goal that had been frustrated by northern states. It was a common sentiment among Southerners and especially Texans that Mexico must be rescued from indolent inhabitants and granted the benefits of American civilization.

Blood and Treasure, written in a readable narrative style that belies the rigorous research behind it, tells the story of the Confederacy's ambitious plan to extend a Confederate empire across the continent. Led by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor, later a governor of Arizona, and General H. H. Sibley, Texan soldiers trekked from San Antonio to Fort Bliss in El Paso, then north along the Rio Grande to Santa Fe. Fighting both Apaches and Federal troops, the half-trained, undisciplined army met success at the Battle of Val Verde and defeat at the Battle of Apache Canyon. Finally, the Texans won the Battle of Glorieta Pass, only to lose their supply train--and eventually the campaign. Pursued and dispirited, the Confederates abandoned their dream of empire and retreated to El Paso and San Antonio.

Frazier has made use of previously untapped primary sources, allowing him to present new interpretations of the famous Civil War battles in the Southwest. Using narratives of veterans of the campaign and official Confederate and Union documents, the author explains how this seemingly far-fetched fantasy of building a Confederate empire was an essential part of the Confederate strategy. Military historians will be challenged to modify traditional views of Confederate imperial ambitions. Generalists will be drawn into the fascinating saga of the soldiers' fears, despair, and struggles to survive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780890967324
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication date: 10/01/1996
Series: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series , #41
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)

About the Author

DONALD S. FRAZIER is assistant professor of history at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, and author of numerous articles on Texas, Civil War, and borderlands history. His cartographic work has been published in many books on Southern history."Frazier's thoroughly researched study provides the best account to date of Confederate attempts to conquer and govern the American Southwest during the Civil War. He shows that this theater, ignored in many of the standard accounts of the Civil War, had far more significance than the relatively small number of soldiers engaged in its campaigns would indicate. Frazier demonstrates that Confederate western initiatives, which included Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, and northern Mexico, derived from prewar Texan and Southern slavery expansion. His conclusion that Jefferson Davis might have provided the Confederacy with its best chance for independence had he committed more resources to the West, will fuel the debate over Davis's strategic competency.

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Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
James_Durney More than 1 year ago
We do not have enough books on the American Civil War in the far west. The battles of Val Verde, Glorieta Pass and Peralta are not familiar names to most of us. We cannot name the commanders or detail the fighting. That has always been the case and I do not think it will be changing soon. Finding Donald S. Frazier has been a major event for me. First, I am a sucker for small campaign and small battle books. Second, I want to learn more about the issues, fighting and personalities involved with the war in the southwest. Lastly, I always like finding a good readable author of Civil War History. Mr. Frazier is a professor of history and the author of a number of articles on the history of the southwest. His books are well researched, correctly footnoted, informative and easy to read. "Blood & Treasure" is a campaign study of the 1862 Confederate attempt to conquer what is now New Mexico & Arizona. The United States had stripped the area, leaving things open to a CSA incursion and Indian raids. This is a detailed study of the development of the plans, the campaign and the aftermath. Throughout, the author maintains the right level of detail and readability. We never are bogged down in mind numbing details but we do not lose sight of the people involved. Small campaigns and battle turn on people. The author never loses sight of this and keeps several individual's experiences in the forefront. This excellent campaign study covers internal politics, relationships between the Whites and Mexicans and problems of equipping and supplying armies over long distances. The battles presented in "real time" and detailed. We understand the issues and easily grasp the tactical situations. Maps are sufficient but not generous. This book won The Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award- for an outstanding publication by an individual from the Historical Society of New Mexico.
jztemple on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fraizer's book isn't just about the Rebel invasion of the current New Mexico and Arizona at the start of the American Civil War. Instead, Fraizer's approach is to propose, rather successfully, that this invasion was not some wild-eyed scheme or diversion, but a fundamental part of the Confederate, or at least Texan, high level ambitions. Starting from right after the Texas War for Independence, argues Fraizer, Texans had sought to seize the Rio Grande from mouth to source, and after the Gadsden Purchase of 1854 their interest expanded to the mineral rich area of present southern Arizona. And California with it's gold was never far from their thoughts either.After this background, the book does an excellent job of relating the story of the Rebel early attempts to control the Southwest, first with localized uprisings and escalating to Sibley's invasion in late 1861. He then covers the campaign, the battles and the eventual withdrawal of the Rebel forces. The included maps are well appreciated.The book is published by Texas A&M University Press and is focused on the Texan and Confederate forces and actions, rather than an equal assessment of both sides. That's no problem since it reflects the author's intent. Fraizer is rather opinionated at times and doesn't mince his words, but he does seem to be evenhanded with his criticisms, eventually finding that much of the blame for the failure of the invasion falls squarely on the Texans, who he notes were often fine warriors but poor soldiers.Highly recommended for the reader with an interest in military or American Civil War history.