Monday, December 01, 2014

New And Noteworthy---Montana's Confederate Heritage

Confederates In Montana Territory: In The Shadow of Price's Army, Ken Robison, History Press, 192 pp.,49 illustrations, 4 maps, index, chapter bibliographies, $19.99. 

Montana was not an organized territory until the spring of 1864 and was over a thousand miles away from military operations in Kansas and New Mexico. During the first three years of the war the region that would become Montana was divided between the territories of Washington, Idaho and Dakota. During the war there were those Confederate soldiers that deserted or Confederate civilians who drifted into this region. In the southwest area one community wished to name itself Varina, in honor of Varina Davis, the wife of  the Confederate president. This was dismissed by a regional judge who was a native of Connecticut but did allow a substitute name, Virginia. In 1862, gold was discovered in the region and one strike was named Confederate Gulch. Such loyalty issues arose and caught the attention of Unionists in the region who brought it to the attention of the national government which remedied the situation by creating the Montana Territory.

Ken Robison, the author of Confederates In Montana Territory is a Montana native, historic preservationist, newspaper columnist, historian and retired captain of the U.S. navy's intelligence branch. He has authored four other books on Montana's early history and a frequent contributor to the Montana: The Magazine of Western History and other regional journals.

Confederates In Montana Territory: In The Shadow of Price's Army offers detailed and entertaining stories regarding Confederate veterans commanded by William Quantrill,  Bill Anderson, Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Mosby. Robison's focus includes particular cavalry regiments and the unique adventures that the Confederate veterans experienced during the war. The Moore brothers accompanied Jefferson Davis during his flight from Richmond, Virginia; others were veterans of the Confederate Marine Corps. Robison uniquely captures the lives of former slaves who migrated to Montana during and after the war. His work is a biography driven account of Confederate soldiers, civilians and contrabands living together on western frontier.   Confederates In Montana Territory: In The Shadow of Price's Army offers a clear and concise account which is a fine example of local and regional historical research done well.

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