A Terry Texas Ranger: The Life Record of H. W. Graber, and: The Ragged Rebel: A Common Soldier in W. H. Parsons' Cavalry, 1861-1865, and: Gaines' Mill to Appomattox: Waco and McLennan County in Hood's Texas Brigade, and: Hood's Texas Brigade: Tom Jones' Sketch Book (review)
- Civil War History
- The Kent State University Press
- Volume 35, Number 4, December 1989
- pp. 332-335
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- Additional Information
332CIVIL WAR HISTORY calculates, "260, nearly a third, have not been in print before, and another 192—his letters to his wife—appear here uncensored for the first time" (Papers, x). Those missives to Mary Ellen Marcy McClellan have always been particularly revealing, because Mrs. McClellan was so uncritically sympathetic that the general communicated with her almost as an extension of himself; now we have still more of such candor. In addition, however , there is much professionally military correspondence that is new to print. With the new material, McClellan becomes even more self-damning than he has always been. The Papers are a tissue of excuses, usually couched in the pompous rhetoric about being chosen by God—and trying to pass the buck to Him. Perhaps McClellan is not so much of an enigma after all. Academics and intellectuals, much of the time even we historians, tend to hold soldiers in so little esteem that we often underrate the difficulties of military command. Safe ourselves from the terrors of battle, we rather assume that an educated intellect should suffice to overcome those terrors and all the other problems and frictions ofwar. Because George B. McClellan manifestly possessed an educated intellect, we find it mysterious that he should have failed. But the successful warrior chieftain must bring to his work capacities well beyond those ofan educated mind. Especially he needs a particular kind of moral courage, an ability to confront all sorts of horrors and terrors and emotional strains and crushing responsibilities for life and death, to meet them head-on and even to revel in their challenges. The McClellan of the wartime letters almost never confronted anything headon . He was never a warrior. He was a cautious, timorous man—probably not so different from most of the rest of us, but most of us lack the stuff of great generals, however intelligent we may be. Reading between the lines, we see in the Papers a McClellan who was simply and continually frightened by war, which is not so mysterious a condition. Russell F. Weigley Temple University A Terry Texas Ranger: The Life Record of H. W. Graber. By H. W. Graber. Introduction by Thomas Cutrer. (Austin: State House Press, 1987. Pp. xxxiii, 454. $50.00.) The Ragged Rebel: A Common Soldier in W. H Parsons' Cavalry, 1861-1865. By B. P. Gallaway. (Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1988. Pp. xvi, 186. $19.95.) Gaines ' Mill to Appomattox: Waco and McLennan County in Hood's Texas Brigade. By Harold B. Simpson. Introduction by Roger N. Conger. (Waco: Texian Press, 1963; reprint 1988. Pp. x. 294. $16.95.) BOOK REVIEWS333 Hood's Texas Brigade: Tom Jones'Sketch Book. By Tom Jones. Introduction by Harold B. Simpson. (Hillsboro: Hill College Press, 1988. Pp. viii, 74. $15.00.) The four books under examination here add much to the "record" ofTexas' participation in the Civil War. One, a reprint ofA Terry Texas Ranger: The Life Record of H. W. Graber (an autobiography originally published in 1916 in a most limited edition for Graber's family and friends), has an excellent up-to-date introduction by Tom Cutrer ofthe Texas State Historical Association. Graber served with the Rangers as a private after having turned down election asan officer. Except fora brieftime when he was a prisoner ofwar, Private Graber was with the Rangers from the unit's beginnings in 1861 until the end of the war. Dr. Cutrer ranks A Terry Texas Ranger as one of "the finest primary source documents" that has highlighted the history of the extraordinary Rangers (v). Graber's autobiography details, for example, the history ofthe Rangers from a private's perspective as the unit fought under General Albert Sidney Johnston in Kentucky. There, in 1 861 , the gallant Colonel Benjamin Terry was fatally shot while leading a battle charge that was successful. Out of respect, his cavalry regiment continued throughout the war to call itselfthe "Terry Rangers." The regiment saw plenty of the war: at Shiloh, with General Johnston's Army of Tennessee; at Corinth during the painful retreat from Shiloh; later, at Murfreesboro, with the Rangers riding with General Nathan B. Forrest as he led a devastating raid into...