Pecos Bill

A Military Biography of William R. Shafter

978-1-58544-042-9 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
240 pp. 14 b&w photos., 8 maps.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000


General William R. Shafter was no gallant hero. He drank, gambled, swore, got into fights with his men. They nicknamed him for the river that was one of his targets: “Pecos Bill.” He was accused of trying to start a war with Mexico and became involved in an embezzlement case. Associated with military blunders during the Spanish-American War, he has often been pictured as a fat, incompetent buffoon.

But Shafter, if coarse and abrasive, was a man who got results. A winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, he served in the Army for forty years, from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War, in which he commanded all Army operations. In Texas, he commanded one of the army’s first all-black regiments. He helped restore peace at Pine Ridge after the Wounded Knee massacre, and he carried out in Cuba one of the swiftest and most successful campaigns in the history of American warfare.

In this carefully researched and very readable study, Paul Carlson gives insight into the career and life of one of history’s enduring enigmas.

Published by Texas A&M University Press