THE WAR IN THE FAR WEST: 1861-1865 by Oscar Lewis


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Written by a San Franciscan and a seasoned Western historian, author of High Sierra Country, California Heritage, etc., this well documented and long overdue volume fills one of the few remaining gaps in Civil War history and does it extremely well. Although the telegraph wire had reached the Pacific Coast early in 1861, when the War broke out, communications were still slow and bad, and California, a rich prize coveted by both sides and isolated in space and thought from the East, had to fight her war for herself. It was a war largely of speeches, threats and politics, although Northern volunteers went from California to Boston, and in San Francisco Secessionists breathed blood and fury. Southerners in high political office attempted to seize California and her gold for the Confederacy, but the astute Governor Downey and the strongly union sentiment of Northern California saved the state for the Union. The real fighting in the Far Western War took place in New Mexico, an important but often forgotten affair here told in excellent detail. In July, 1861, Confederate troops under General Sibley invaded New Mexico in an attempt to annex the Southwest as a base attack against California and Mexico. At first successful, Sibley was defeated by Colorado volunteers in February, 1862, at the bloody battle of Glorieta Pass, an engagement which forced his retreat and ended the Confederate dream of a Southwest Empire. Well written and made of the stuff of history, this fine study will appeal to historians and students rather than to casual readers or the average Civil War buff; it is an essential addition to all comprehensive libraries of the Civil War and the American Far West.

Publisher: Doubleday