The reports and letters brought to light by John P. Wilson in this remarkable collection offer new perspectives on the Civil War in the West. He documents, for example, the activities of Kit Carson, William Brady, and other well known figures whose roles in the Civil War have been incompletely understood; highlights for the first time the dedicated service of native New Mexican officers; unravels the sophisticated espionage (and the brutal executions of suspected spies) carried out by both sides; demonstrates how this national drama took place against the backdrop of ongoing Indian Wars--with the Apaches, the Navajos, and even the Kiowas--that ensnared both Union and Confederate armies; and elucidates the unprecedented ways in which the conflict militarized the Southwest for decades.
The 282 letters, song lyrics, casualty lists, intelligence dispatches, transcripts of witness testimony, newspaper accounts, and official reports of battles that appear here build upon the massive anthology of Civil War documentation first published in War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 volumes, 1881-1901). Wilson's book supplements that source by including previously unavailable materials that historians, scholars, students, and Civil War buffs will find invaluable and intriguing.
"I would go so far as to say that several of the documents contained in When the Texans Came not only add new information to our knowledge of the Civil War in the New Mexico Territory, but may well change previous opinions and conclusions about that conflict."--Jerry Thompson, Texas A&M International University