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Civil War in Apacheland: Sergeant George Hand's Diary, 1861-1864 [Paperback]

Neil B. Carmony
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 1996 094438336X 978-0944383360
The publication of Whiskey, Six-Guns and Red-Light Ladies in 1994 introduced readers to the ribald 1870s diary of frontier saloon keeper, George Hand. More than a decade earlier, George Hand kept another spirited journal, this one recording his service with the Union Army. Marching from California through Arizona, West Texas and southern New Mexico, Sergeant Hand and the other volunteers of the California Column protected the southwest from further invasions by the Texas Rebels. Their hardships and adventures are recorded in Hand's salty journal; heat, dust, thirst and cold; ethnic tensions, frontier whiskey, and Apache depredations; bad food and disease; and imperious officers whom enlisted man Hand does not hesitate to cuss.

George Hand also hunted ducks and quail in a pristine Southwest, pulled huge catfish from the Rio Grande, and rescued a damsel in distress. The Civil War in Apacheland provides an intimate view of a little-known theater of the Civil War, and is the first-hand chronicle of an army that contributed mightily to the American settlement of the Southwest.


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Review

The California Column created Civil War history as it marched across Arizona and into New Mexico, conquering both. Still, it never really had its spokesman until High-Lonesome Books decided to publish Sergeant George Hand's Diary. In graphic, soldier terms it records the day-to-day brutal, disgusting, often humorous and always riveting, saga of the life, times, dreams and nightmares of a Union man and a toiling, misfit army. -- Leon C. Metz

The California Volunteers played a pivotal role in New Mexico and Arizona during the Civil War. George Hand's observations are both sprightly and historically valuable. This is an important contribution to both the history and the literature of the American Southwest. -- Robert M. Utley

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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the edited journal of a Yankee soldier in El Paso,
Texas and Mesilla, New Mexico during the Civil War.
George Hand was literate and this gives the perspective
of an enlisted man. This talks of southern sympathizers
living in El Paso (Franklin) and across the Rio Grande
in Mexico. Good read if you like Primary Source material
on the Civil War in the West. Same author as "Whiskey,
Six-Guns, and Red Light Ladies." The latter book is
Hand's life in Tucson, AZ 1875-1878
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Primary historical source of Civil War, El Paso and Mesilla Sept. 20 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the edited journal of a Yankee soldier in El Paso,
Texas and Mesilla, New Mexico during the Civil War.
George Hand was literate and this gives the perspective
of an enlisted man. This talks of southern sympathizers
living in El Paso (Franklin) and across the Rio Grande
in Mexico. Good read if you like Primary Source material
on the Civil War in the West. Same author as "Whiskey,
Six-Guns, and Red Light Ladies." The latter book is
Hand's life in Tucson, AZ 1875-1878
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revelations, or what Grandpa did during the war. March 3 2010
By Epona - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the book because it mentions my Great-Great Grandfather, who drove a team of oxen to California, became a "miner 49er" and then joined a volunteer Infantry brigade known later as the California Column.

Like many amateur family tree compilers, I knew family stories, but no details. The book is a diary of the hard life of the men sent to drive the Confederates out of the southwest, and to fight various Indian tribes. I was fascinated, and read the book in a couple of days.

Beware of ancestor worship. I was repulsed by many of the stories. The book reveals Northern prejudices and callous behavior not in tune with current beliefs, and I don't recommend the book for children. However, it was wonderful to read about the real lives, and the sacrifices made by ordinary people who believed in a cause. I'd bet that soldiers in the Middle East right now would empathize with the author.

Finally, the book itself arrived in great condition, and has many photos, maps and illustrations from the Civil War, including some by Frederic Remington.
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