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Race and Radicalism in the Union Army

Mark A. Lause

Publication Year: 2009

Identifying elements of radicalism and reform in the interactions among blacks, Indians, and whites, Mark A. Lause examines how a multiracial vision of American society developed on the western frontier during the Civil War. Focusing on the radical followers of John Brown in territorial Kansas, Lause examines the impact of abolitionist sentiment on relations with Indians and the crucial role of nonwhites in the conflict. He discusses the radicalizing impact of this triracial Unionism upon the military course of the war in the upper Trans-Mississippi. Assessing the social interrelations, ramifications, and military impact of nonwhites in the Union forces, Race and Radicalism in the Union Army explores the extent of interracial thought and activity among Americans in this period and greatly expands the historical narrative on the Civil War in the West.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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p. vii

This book owes much to many. Early in this project, it benefited significantly from the goading of my medievalist office mate, L. J. Andrew Villalon, who has always had, among his many other sterling qualities, a good nose for a great story. Our colleague Janine Hartman has always made herself available as a sounding board on drafts and approaches to problems. At crucial ...

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pp. 1-7

On July 17, 1863, a little army of Indian, black, and white soldiers advanced against a much larger force. They moved south across the prairies, alongside the Texas Road, toward Elk Creek, just north of the Honey Springs Depot in the Creek Nation of the Indian Territory. In the heat of the day, the soldiers “had stripped themselves of everything in the way of clothing and equipment that could be dispensed with,” leaving ...

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1. The Shadow of John Brown

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pp. 9-24

John Brown and other abolitionists, black and white, discussed many questions beyond slavery. William Addison Phillips remembered that, among those who knew him, Brown openly criticized the nation’s “forms of social and political life.” He “condemned the sale of land as chattel” and “thought society ought to be organized on a less selfish basis; for, while material interests gained something by ...

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2. A Free West in a Slave Nation

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pp. 25-45

Some four years before the 1863 battle, the Creeks near Honey Springs probably took little notice of Dick Hinton as he rode along the Texas Road. As did other followers of John Brown, he believed that a slave rebellion might detonate a general uprising of nonslaveholding southerners and specifically that “the best place of attack would be in the South-Western States.” So he passed through the area with a topographical ...

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3. War in the Far West

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pp. 46-66

The day after Christmas in 1861, a small army closed on thousands of civilian Indian Territory residents at Chustenahlah, or Patriot Hills. By late afternoon the Texans rolled over the few outgunned and outnumbered warriors who had challenged them. As the Indians scattered, nobody had much detailed information about how many they left behind. The Confederate authorities reported capturing ...


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4. Whiteness Challenged

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pp. 67-85

Contemporaries knew that the campaign they witnessed in 1862 scarcely fit the army’s pattern. The volunteers’ uniforms seemed either too large or too small, and the typical mounted soldier rode a pony “so small that his feet appeared to always touch the ground.” The standard-issue high-crowned, stiff black wool hat of the western armies settled not on their heads but on the mass of long hair falling over the shoulders. ...

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5. The Union as It Never Was

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pp. 86-107

In 1863 Richard J. Hinton, the adjutant and self-appointed publicist for the First Kansas Colored, appealed to Senator Jim Lane, saying, “We want to form part of the Indian Division, provided it have a radical chief.” He suggested that if William A. Phillips were to take command, “his brains will make any movement successful, while his modesty will not make a success offensive to any one.”1 ...

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6. Beyond the Map

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pp. 108-126

A year after the victories at Honey Springs—nine months after driving the rebels from Fort Smith and Little Rock—the Federals’ authorities issued orders to evacuate the Indian Territory and Arkansas. Astonishingly, military officialdom found that the vast expanses won at by blood and sword had become administratively inconvenient and logistically cumbersome. Indian, black, and white Southerners ...

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pp. 127-139

Years after the war, a former slave named Tom W. Woods explained its outcome, visible in the possibilities posed by the presidency of the railsplitter Abraham Lincoln. “Lady,” he told a WPA interviewer in the 1930s, “if de nigger hadn’t been set free dis country wouldn’t ever been what it is now! Poor white folks wouldn’t never had a chance. De slave holders had most ...


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pp. 141-181


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pp. 183-186

E-ISBN-13: 9780252091704
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252034466

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 748780261
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Race and Radicalism in the Union Army

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States. Army of the Frontier.
  • Indian Territory -- History, Military -- 19th century.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, African American.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Participation, Indian.
  • Radicalism -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • Brown, John, 1800-1859 -- Influence.
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