Blood and Treasure
Confederate Empire in the Southwest
Military History - Civil War
6 x 9, 376 pp.
16 b&w photos., 9 maps
Pub Date: 10/01/1996
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
  paper
Price:        $29.95

978-0-89096-732-4
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A History Book Club Alternate Selection

1996 Gaspar Perez de Villagra Award, presented by the Historical Society of New Mexico
 
1996 Certificate of Commendation, presented by the American Association for State and Local History

Blood and Treasure

Confederate Empire in the Southwest

By Donald S. Frazier

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.

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.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Frazier convincingly demonstrates that Union commander Edward R. S. Canby deserves more respect than he sometimes gets from historians for his part in driving Confederate armies out of New Mexico and Arizona. He also shows how Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley and Confederate Colonel John Robert Baylor--the two expansionist dreamers most responsible for the Confederacy's southwestern initiatives--had personal flaws which sabotaged the very territorial gains which they accomplished. His manuscript is sensitive to Confederate relations with Hispanics, and integrates Confederate campaigns against Apache tribes into his Civil War story. Many readers will appreciate Frazier's meticulous descriptions of camp life, soldiering in the arid Southwest, the battles of Val Verde, Apache Canyon, Glorieta and Peralta, and especially the backgrounds, motives, and personalities of the officers and soldiers involved in the Confederate campaigns for empire. One could not ask for a more engaging treatment from the Confederate perspective of the Civil War in the Southwest.”--Robert E. May, author of The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861


"Blood and Treasure is a rich saga of derring-do, high ideals, mercenary greed, dreams of empire, espionage, individual heroics, and battle action. Characters no one could invent are brought to life, marching across the wilds of Texas and New Mexico and encountering their fellow citizens-now-enemies, along with Indians and Mexican citizens who could be allies or foes. Prof. Frazier limns the personalities and the action in lively style. Sure to become a standard work on the subject, and deservedly so." --Lynda Crist, editor of the Jefferson Davis Papers

"Marked by clear, imaginative writing and grounded upon a superbly integrated diversity of sources--both primary and secondary--Blood and Treasure examines in detail the ill-fated Confederate invasion of New Mexico in 1861-62, which, if successful, might have provided the Confederacy with an empire in the West and significantly altered the outcome of the war. This splendid book is an important reminder that not all of the decisive campaigns in the Civil War were fought east of the Mississippi." --William K. Scarborough, author of The Overseer and editor of The Di

"Donald Frazier's Blood and Treasure is a refreshing new look at the pivotal 1861-62 Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory. Using an impressive array of secondary and newly discovered primary sources, Frazier takes the reader from the burning deserts of the Trans-Pecos up the Rio Grande to bloody Valverde and the towering and snow-crowned heights of Glorieta Pass, where the Confederate dream of a western empire went up in smoke. Frazier has written a book that clearly expands our knowledge of the thoughts and actions of those zealous, yet ill-fated young Texans in homespun and butternut. Blood and Treasure has all the elements of a great book--sacrifice, unfaltering valor, and tragedy." --Jerry Thompson, author of Henry Hopkins Sibley: Confederate General of the

"In this exciting, highly recommended account of an army of Texans seeking empire and treasure in the American Southwest, Professor Donald Frazier emphasizes adventure, hardship, and a bold thesis: the invasion of New Mexico--too often treated as a minor Civil War campaign--as the key to Confederate imperialism. Had these aggressive Texans not been defeated by their own poor planning and leadership they would have pushed the boundaries of the Old South into Mexico and westward to the Pacific." --Grady McWhiney, Lyndon Baines Johnson Professor of American History, Texas Ch

" . . . superbly written . . . To some historians, the campaigns in Arizona and New Mexico were a minor sideshow. Yet, as Frazier illustrates, the stakes were enormous . . . Frazier has done an outstanding job of illuminating a relatively obscure aspect of the Civil War, and his work should appeal to both the history buff and those general readers who appreciate epic but futile adventures." --Booklist

"Most of us who have read almost exclusively about the Civil War in the East will find Donald Frazier's synthesis of the Southwest theater to be unfamiliar and intriguing, rich in well-defined characters and incidents. . . . [a] fresh, compelling account." --The State (Columbia, SC)

"The fascinating tale of how and why they failed miserably is described competently, sometimes brilliantly, by Donald S. Frazier in Blood & Treasure. . . . history buffs, especially those who focus on Texas, will find Blood & Treasure to be an indispensable addition to their libraries." --Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"I've been waiting for someone to do an updated version of the story, one that would take into account much new information uncovered in recent decades. Frazier has bravely taken on the task, giving us a polished narrative of this dramatic chapter in the war. . . . On every page I discovered little nuggets of fact that were new to me. . . . This is heady stuff that will get the blood pumping. . . . For anyone seriously interested in the history of the Southwest or the Civil War, Blood and Treasure should not be missed." --Marc Simmons, (El Paso Times, Defensor Chieftain

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