The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 11, 2020 - History - 352 pages
A dramatic, riveting, and deeply researched narrative account of the epic struggle for the West during the Civil War, revealing a little-known, vastly important episode in American history.

In The Three-Cornered War Megan Kate Nelson reveals the fascinating history of the Civil War in the American West. Exploring the connections among the Civil War, the Indian wars, and western expansion, Nelson reframes the era as one of national conflict—involving not just the North and South, but also the West.

Against the backdrop of this larger series of battles, Nelson introduces nine individuals: John R. Baylor, a Texas legislator who established the Confederate Territory of Arizona; Louisa Hawkins Canby, a Union Army wife who nursed Confederate soldiers back to health in Santa Fe; James Carleton, a professional soldier who engineered campaigns against Navajos and Apaches; Kit Carson, a famous frontiersman who led a regiment of volunteers against the Texans, Navajos, Kiowas, and Comanches; Juanita, a Navajo weaver who resisted Union campaigns against her people; Bill Davidson, a soldier who fought in all of the Confederacy’s major battles in New Mexico; Alonzo Ickis, an Iowa-born gold miner who fought on the side of the Union; John Clark, a friend of Abraham Lincoln’s who embraced the Republican vision for the West as New Mexico’s surveyor-general; and Mangas Coloradas, a revered Chiricahua Apache chief who worked to expand Apache territory in Arizona.

As we learn how these nine charismatic individuals fought for self-determination and control of the region, we also see the importance of individual actions in the midst of a larger military conflict. The Three-Cornered War is a captivating history—based on letters and diaries, military records and oral histories, and photographs and maps from the time—that sheds light on a forgotten chapter of American history.
 

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The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West

User Review  - Megan Kate Nelson - Publishers Weekly

Historian Nelson (Ruin Nation) documents the Civil War as it unfolded in the American West in this brisk and well-sourced narrative. Contending that the federal government’s war aims included both the ... Read full review

Contents

Baylor
5
Mangas Coloradas
15
Canby
24
Davidson
33
Juanita
42
Ickis
50
Valverde
57
PART TWO Trail
75
PART THREE Land of Suffering
161
Mangas Coloradas
165
Clark
176
Tséyi
185
Carleton
200
Juanita
214
Clark
224
Juanita
232

Baylor
79
Clark
90
Glorieta
99
Davidson
115
Carleton
124
Mangas Coloradas
136
Canby
144
Ickis
152
Epilogue
247
Acknowledgments
253
Abbreviations
257
Notes
259
Bibliography
293
Index
315
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About the author (2020)

Megan Kate Nelson is a writer and historian living in Lincoln, Massachusetts. She has written about the Civil War, US western history, and American culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, Preservation Magazine, and Civil War Monitor. Nelson earned her BA in history and literature from Harvard University and her PhD in American studies from the University of Iowa, and she has taught at Texas Tech University, Cal State Fullerton, Harvard, and Brown. Nelson is the author of The Three-Cornered War, Ruin Nation, and Trembling Earth.

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