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Leader of the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry and the 8th U.S. Cavalry
The military career of General James Monroe Williams spanned both the Civil War and the Indian Wars in the West, yet no biography has been published to date on his important accomplishments, until now. From his birth on the northern frontier, westward movement in the Great Migration, rush into the violence of antebellum Kansas Territory, Civil War commands in the Trans-Mississippi, and as a cavalry officer in the Indian Wars, Williams was involved in key moments of American history. Like many who make a difference, Williams was a leader of strong convictions, sometimes impatient with heavy-handed and sluggish authority. Building upon his political opinions and experience as a Jayhawker, Williams raised and commanded the ground-breaking 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862. His new regiment of black soldiers was the first such organization to engage Confederate troops, and the first to win. He enjoyed victories in Missouri, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), and Arkansas, but also fought in the abortive Red River Campaign and endured defeat and the massacre of his captured black troops at Poison Spring. In 1865, as a brigadier general, Williams led his troops in consolidating control of northern Arkansas. Williams played a key role in taking Indian Territory from Confederate forces, which denied routes of advance into Kansas and east into Arkansas. His 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry Regiment helped turn the tide of Southern successes in the Trans-Mississippi, establishing credibility of black soldiers in the heat of battle. Following the Civil War, Williams secured a commission in the Regular Army’s 8th Cavalry Regiment, serving in Arizona and New Mexico. His victories over Indians in Arizona won accolades for having “settled the Indian question in that part of Arizona.” He finally left the military in 1873, debilitated from five wounds received at the hands of Confederates and hostile Indians.
Callaway was a schoolteacher, husband, and father of two when he enlisted in the 28th Alabama Infantry Regiment at the age of twenty-seven. Serving with the Army of the Tennessee, he campaigned in Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and north Georgia. Along the way this perceptive observer and gifted writer wrote a continuous narrative detailing the activities, concerns, hopes, fears, discomforts, and pleasures of a Confederate soldier in the field.
Whether writing about combat, illness, encampments, or homesickness, Callaway makes even the everyday aspects of soldiering interesting. This large collection, seventy-four letters in all, is a valuable historical reference that provides new insights into life behind the front lines of the Civil War.
Lt. Robert T. Hubard Jr.
The Letters of Robert D. Carter
In the midst of the Philippine-American War, twenty-two-year-old Robert Dexter Carter served in Manila as a civilian quartermaster clerk. Through his letters to his family, he provided a vivid picture of army life in Manila—the sights, the smells, and his responses to the native culture. In addition to his letters, his diary and several related articles present a firsthand account of the historic voyage of the United States Army Transport Grant through the Suez Canal to Manila in early 1899. Carter’s writings not only tell of his sometimes harrowing experiences, but also reveal the aspirations and fears of a young man not quite sure of his next steps on life’s journey.
Carter’s father, Robert Goldthwaite Carter, was a war hero and a longtime friend of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton. Carter obtained his position through Lawton’s influence, and his respect for Lawton is clear throughout his writings. A frequent guest in the Lawton home, the young clerk was introduced to many notable figures both military and civilian. Carter’s letters, particularly to his father, are full of news and gossip related to his commander. In other letters, he reveals the kindness and generosity of Mrs. Lawton, who took time to look out for Carter while he was in the hospital and often loaned him books.
This well-researched and expertly edited work casts light on the role of support troops in war, a subject too often minimized or ignored. Shay begins each chapter with an introduction that establishes the setting, the context of events, and the disposition of Carter and his compatriots and provides notes and commentary to place the letters in context. By choosing not to edit the offensive expletives of a sometimes arrogant and racist young man, Shay presents a fully nuanced portrait of a young American exploring the larger world in a time of turmoil.
Enhanced by photographs from collections at the Library of Congress and the Military History Institute, as well as many of Carter’s own whimsical drawings, the book will appeal to armchair historians and scholars alike.
Antebellum Soldier of Fortune and Florida Pioneer
Henry Theodore Titus (1822–1881) was the quintessential adventurer, soldier of fortune, and small-time entrepreneur, a man for whom any frontier—geographical, cultural, social—was an opportunity for advancement. Although born in Trenton, New Jersey, and raised in New York and Pennsylvania, Titus bore no allegiance to his native soil or the Yankee values of his ancestors. In the 1850s he became a staunch defender of southern slavery, United States expansionism into the Caribbean Basin, and ultimately the Confederacy’s war of disunion. In Colonel Henry Theodore Titus, the first full-length biography of Titus, Antonio Rafael de la Cova reveals a man whose life and adventures offer glimpses into nineteenth-century America not often examined; these indicate the extent to which personal and collective violence, racial prejudice, and moral ambiguities shaped the country at the time. Belligerent, intemperate, egomaniacal, and of imposing stature, Titus was the bête noire of the abolitionist press. Despite his northern roots, he became a caricature of the southern braggart and frontier opportunist. National newspapers followed his reckless exploits during most of his adult life. Titus fought brawls in the saloons of luxury hotels and narrowly escaped the hangman’s noose as a Border Ruffian leader in Bleeding Kansas, a Nicaraguan firing squad as a filibuster, and death in a Comanche ambush in Texas. He nearly prompted an international incident between the United States and Great Britain when he was arrested in Nicaragua for threatening to shoot a British naval officer and disparaging the queen of England. The colonel was jailed in New York City for disorderly conduct and trying “to organize the desperate classes for a riot.” During his lifetime Titus held more than a dozen occupations, including sawmill owner, postal inspector, soldier of fortune, grocer, planing mill salesman, farmer, slave overseer, turtler, bartender, land speculator, and hotel keeper. He pursued silver mining in the Gadsden Purchase portion of the Arizona Territory where his brother was killed and their hacienda destroyed by Apaches. Despite his violent character and his pro-Confederate values, Titus was politically savvy. He did not take up arms during the Civil War. After a brief stint as assistant quartermaster in the Florida militia, he returned to civilian life and sold foodstuffs and slave labor to the Confederacy. Florida Reconstruction governors later appointed him as notary public and justice of the peace. Rheumatism and gout kept Titus bound to a wheelchair during the last few years of his life when he became an avid civic leader. His greatest legacy was ironically his most benign. Borrowing today’s equivalent income value sum of half a million dollars, he established a grocery store and a sawmill in a hardscrabble Florida frontier settlement that became the city of Titusville, the county seat of Brevard County and tourist gateway to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
In October 1943, twenty-seven-year-old combat infantry chaplain Israel Yost arrived in Italy with the 100th Battalion, a little-known National Guard unit of mostly Japanese Americans from Hawai‘i. Yost was apprehensive when he learned of his assignment to this unusual unit composed of soldiers with whom he felt he had little in common and who were mostly Buddhists. But this would soon change. For the next nineteen months at the front—from Salerno to Monte Cassino to Anzio to Bruyeres—Yost assisted medics, retrieved bodies from the battlefield, buried enemy soldiers, struggled to bolster morale as the number of casualties rose higher and higher, and wrote countless letters of condolence, all in addition to fulfilling his ministerial duties, which included preaching in the foxholes. Although his sermons won few converts, Yost’s tireless energy and concern for others earned him admiration from his fellow soldiers, who often turned to him as a trusted friend and spiritual advisor. Forty years after the war had ended, with the help of his field diaries and the letters he had written almost daily to his wife, Yost wrote of his wartime experiences in the hopes that they might one day be published as a record of the remarkable character and accomplishments of the 100th. Combat Chaplain presents this heartfelt memoir intact. with the addition of photographs and subsequent letters and speeches by Yost and other veterans.
A Thirty-Year Vietnam Battle
In 1967 Chaplain James D. Johnson chose to accompany his men, unarmed, on their daily combat operations, a decision made against the recommendations of his superiors. During what would be the final days for some, he offered his ministry not from a pulpit but on the battlefields—in hot landing zones and rice paddies, in hospitals, aboard ship, and knee-deep in mud. He even found time for baptisms in the muddy Mekong River. In Combat Chaplain, we live with Johnson as he serves in the field with a small unit numbering 350 men in the Mobile Riverine Force. "This is a very powerful true story, unique in its personal close-up of infantry and Riverine warfare, and the terrible human price paid by one battalion during eight months of the controversial Vietnam War. He shows that even men of God can come to despise the enemy for the evil that they do, while acknowledging that they, too, are God's creations. Chaplain Johnson's book should be required reading by national leaders before they consider whether to commit our troops to combat."—James P. Maloney, Major General, USA, Retired
Don Whitehead's World War II Diary and Memoirs
No one bore witness better than Don Whitehead . . . this volume, deftly combining his diary and a previously unpublished memoir, brings Whitehead and his reporting back to life, and 21st-century readers are the richer for it.-from the Foreword, by Rick AtkinsonWinner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Don Whitehead is one of the legendary reporters of World War II. For the Associated Press he covered almost every important Allied invasion and campaign in Europe-from North Africa to landings in Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and Normandy, and to the drive into Germany. His dispatches, published in the recent Beachhead Don, are treasures of wartime journalism.From the fall of September 1942, as a freshly minted A.P. journalist in New York, to the spring of 1943 as Allied tanks closed in on the Germans in Tunisia, Whitehead kept a diary of his experiences as a rookie combat reporter. The diary stops in 1943, and it has remained unpublished until now. Back home later, Whitehead started, but never finished, a memoir of his extraordinary life in combat.John Romeiser has woven both the North African diary and Whitehead's memoir of the subsequent landings in Sicily into a vivid, unvarnished, and completely riveting story of eight months during some of the most brutal combat of the war. Here, Whitehead captures the fierce fighting in the African desert and Sicilian mountains, as well as rare insights into the daily grind of reporting from a war zone, where tedium alternated with terror. In the tradition of cartoonist Bill Mauldin's memoir Up Front, Don Whitehead's powerful self-portrait is destined to become an American classic.
The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901
During his thirty-eight-year career as a military officer, Henry Clay Merriam received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Civil War, rose to prominence in the Western army, and exerted significant influence on the American West by establishing military posts, protecting rail lines, and maintaining an uneasy peace between settlers and Indians. Historian Jack Stokes Ballard’s new study of Merriam’s life and career sheds light on the experience of the western fort builders, whose impact on the US westward expansion, though less dramatic, was just as lasting as that of Indian fighters such as Custer and Sheridan. Further, Merriam’s lengthy period in command of black troops offers a study in leadership and important understandings about the conditions under which African Americans served on the Western frontier. During the course of his service, Merriam crisscrossed the country, from Brownsville, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Barracks, serving in eastern Washington, California, and Denver. Drawing extensively on the many letters and records associated with Merriam’s long army career, Ballard presents his service in a wide range of settings, many of which have become the stuff of Western history: from conflict with Mexican revolutionaries on the Rio Grande to the miners’ riots in Coeur d’Alene. Ballard’s careful research provides a vivid picture of the military’s role in the westward expansion.
Privateer, Patriot, Pioneer
Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) commanded insurgents who destroyed HMS Gaspee in Narragansett Bay and helped direct the successful invasion of the Bahamas. This little-known, yet intrepid and frequently successful Continental Navy officer contributed significantly to the War for Independence. An esteemed officer of the fleet, he spent his last years in frontier Ohio where he was respected and appealed to younger generations as a "representative of the Revolution."
Sheldon Cohen's biography of Whipple presents a look inside the life of a Continental officer. He illustrates at a personal level the complexities of naval warfare, including Whipple's reliance on personal finances and family connections to outfit his ships and pay his crew. Cohen also reveals the commander’s treatment as a British prisoner of war, and his eventual migration west, shedding light on experiences shared by many Revolutionary War veterans.