In 1863 the Union capture of Texas was viewed as crucial to the strategy to deny the Confederacy the territory west of the Mississippi and thus to break the back of Southern military force.
Overland, Texas supplied Louisiana and points east with needed goods; by way of Mexico, Texas offered a detour around the blockade of Southern ports and thus an economic link to England and France. But Union forces had no good base from which to interdict either part of the Texas trade. Their efforts were characterized by short, unsuccessful forays, primarily in East and South Texas. One of these, which left New Orleans on October 26, 1863, and was known as the Rio Grande Expedition, forms the centerpiece of this book.
Stephen A. Townsend carefully traces the actions—and inaction—of the Union forces from the capture of Brownsville by troops under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, through the advance up the coast with the help of Union Loyalists, until General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the abandonment of all of Texas except Brownsville in March 1864. Townsend analyzes the effects of the campaign on the local populace, the morale and good order of the two armies involved, U.S. diplomatic relations with France, the Texas cotton trade, and postwar politics in the state. He thoughtfully assesses the benefits and losses to the Northern war effort of this only sustained occupation of Texas.
No understanding of the Civil War west of the Mississippi—or its place in the Union strategy for the Deep South—will be complete without this informative study.
What Readers Are Saying:
“ . . . an informative and richly detailed narrative of Union efforts to establish a military presence in Texas and curtail trade between Texas and Mexico. . . . an invaluable addition to the study of Confederate Texas.” --East Texas Historical Journal
"Well-researched and written in an accessible style, Townsend's book will be of interest not only to those interested in the Civil War but also those with interest in Texas, Mexican, and borderlands history." -Military History of the West
“. . . Townsend offers a significant contribution to the history of the Civil War west of the Mississippi. In particular, by countering notions that ‘the Lone Star State was untouched by the war of the 1860’s’(67), he offers fresh analysis of how a part of Texas’s civilian population reacted to the Yankee invasion upon their homeland. . . he masterfully recounts forgotten events considered vital to both Union and Confederate war efforts. For readers interested in the fundamental role the campaigns for Texas played in the Civil War, The Yankee Invasion of Texas is an indispensable title.” --North and South Magazine
“Crisply written and well-researched, The Yankee Invasion of Texas tells an important and interesting story about as well as it can be told.” --Southwestern Historical Quarterly
“Stephen Townsend presents a well documented, balanced, and easy reading account of the campaign and its results.” --The Rebel Rouser
“The book is well written and greatly helps one to understand the War west of the Mississippi.” --Variety
". . . sheds light on the strategic importance of the Lone Star State during the Civil War. Students of military and Texas history alike should read this well-researched and lucid book." -Louisiana History
“Students of military and Texas history alike should read this well-researched and lucid book.” --Louisiana History