Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reading the History of The Settlers' War

During the decades from 1820 to 1870, the American frontier expanded two thousand miles across the trans-Mississippi West. In Texas the frontier line expanded only about two hundred miles.

The supposedly irresistible European force met nearly immovable Native American resistance, sparking a brutal struggle for possession of Texas’s hills and prairies that continued for decades.

During the 1860s, however, the bloodiest decade in the western Indian wars, there were no large-scale battles in Texas between the army and the Indians. Instead, the targets of the Comanches, the Kiowas, and the Apaches were generally the homesteaders out on the Texas frontier, that is, precisely those who should have been on the sidelines. Ironically, it was these noncombatants who bore the brunt of the warfare, suffering far greater losses than the soldiers supposedly there to protect them. It is this story that The Settlers’ War tells for the first time.

The Struggle for the Texas Frontier in the 1860s
by Gregory Michno
Caxton Press, 2011