Fifty Miles and a Fight magnifies the brutal nature of the Texas Rangers, a portrayal not readily evident in other sources. Not only does Heintzelman, who was placed in command of the Brownsville Expedition with orders to crush Cortina, record his disdain and distrust of the Rangers, but also their indiscriminate killing of both mexicanos and tejanos. Heintzelman's journal, which reads like a Zane Grey thriller, provides a detailed and vivid account of the battles at El Ebonal and Rio Grande City as well as glimpses into the filibustering activities of the shadowy Knights of the Golden Circle, who were hoping to expand the Cortina War into a larger conflict that would lead to the eventual annexation of Mexico and the creation of a slave empire south of the Rio Grande. Heintzelman's impressions of his senior commander, Col. Robert E. Lee, are also noteworthy.
A real jewel of soldiering on the Southwestern frontier, Heintzelman's journal begins on a sunny and optimistic New Orleans day, April 17, 1859, with his family on its way to Texas, and ends on a depressingly cool and overcast December 31, 1861, also in the Crescent City, with secession fever sweeping the South and the nation on the verge of war.
About the Author
Published by Texas State Historical Assn