The period 1848–1861 is one in which Texas, despite having joined the Union, was nevertheless forced to rely upon itself for defense against both Indian depredations and invasions from south of the Rio Grande. The U.S. Army forces stationed in Texas were woefully insufficient in their numbers and in their capabilities to defend the new citizens of the United States. Although skimmed-over in earlier histories, the period is one of great importance and exciting incidents. The history of the raid into Mexico by James Callahan and his company of rangers, their battle at Escondido, and the almost complete burning and destruction of Piedras Negras has never before been so completely told. Texas' problems with Mexico's "Robin Hood," the adventurer Juan Nepomuceno Cortina who harassed Texas' border areas, have never before been narrated with such fascinating flair. Many of Texas' indomitable historical characters—"Rip" Ford, Sam Houston, Ed Burleson, "Sul" Ross—grace these pages with their exploits, but other heroes who should be better known here receive their full due.<br>
Audaciously emboldened by the results of his meticulous research, Wilkins is not afraid to disagree with that previous icon of ranger history—Walter Prescott Webb—when necessary. Wilkins' histories are a must for those who want to know the way it was!
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Published by State House Press