The Civil War in Arizona (Nonfiction)

Andrew E. Masich, University of Oklahoma Press, $26.95, Softcover.
Andrew E. Masich, University of Oklahoma Press, $26.95, Softcover.

Publication in recent years of books on the invasion of New Mexico and Arizona have finally dispelled the nonsense that the Far West was uninvolved in the Civil War. But this new volume shares the first full history of the war in Arizona, largely the story of Col. James H. Carleton’s California Column. Masich fills us in on the Californians’ skirmish at Picacho Peak, above Tucson, and even at Stanwix Station on the lower Gila River, barely 80 miles from Fort Yuma and the California line. Carleton’s force moved up the Gila and did not stop til it invaded Texas and captured Fort Davis. Along the way, the California Volunteers not only fought hostile Indians, but also captured Chief Mangas Coloradas. After the war, veterans of the column settled in New Mexico and Arizona. Masich follows his excellent narrative history with a compilation of  soldiers’ letters published by San Francisco’s Daily Alta California, with splendid annotations.

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