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.