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Ben McCulloch and the frontier military tradition / Thomas W. Cutrer.

By: Cutrer, Thomas W.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Civil War America: Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1993Description: 402 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0807820768 (alk. paper); 9780807820766 (alk. paper).Subject(s): McCulloch, Ben, 1811-1862 | Soldiers -- Texas -- Biography | Texas -- History, Military | United States. Army -- Officers -- Training of -- History -- 19th century | McCulloch, 1811-1862 | Soldiers Texas Biography | Texas History, Military | United Army Officers Training History 19th centuryAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Ben McCulloch and the frontier military tradition.DDC classification: 976.4/06/092 | B Other classification: 15.85 Summary: A protege of David Crockett and Sam Houston, Ben McCulloch (1811-62) led an extraordinary life as a frontiersman, entrepreneur, and soldier. This first modern biography tells his colorful life story and through his career illuminates mid-nineteenth-century American military culture. In particular, Thomas Cutrer focuses on the tension between traditional volunteer citizen-soldiers and the emerging professional military establishment.Summary: McCulloch was heir apparent to a long line of popularly chosen frontier military officers who rose to leadership positions despite a lack of formal training. Born in Tennessee, he figured prominently in Texas history, participating in the battle of San Jacinto and serving as a Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshal. He won distinction in the Mexican War, and during the Civil War he became the first civilian to receive a general's commission in the Confederate army when he took command of the Confederate forces in Arkansas and the Indian Territory and organized the Army of the West. He won a substantial victory over the Union army at Wilson's Creek in 1861 but was mortally wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge in 1862.Summary: Despite McCulloch's many successes, Cutrer reveals, his career was hampered because he was not a member of the West Point-trained cadre that gained influence in the 1850s. Although by the last half of that decade he was seriously spoken of as a candidate for the U.S. Senate and the governorship of Texas, McCulloch was repeatedly passed over for the army appointments that he coveted. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis sought to form a new model army led by professionally trained officers, and McCulloch's purely practical experience put him at a disadvantage.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
F391.M128 C87 1993 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001065465

Includes bibliographical references (p. 369-392) and index.

A protege of David Crockett and Sam Houston, Ben McCulloch (1811-62) led an extraordinary life as a frontiersman, entrepreneur, and soldier. This first modern biography tells his colorful life story and through his career illuminates mid-nineteenth-century American military culture. In particular, Thomas Cutrer focuses on the tension between traditional volunteer citizen-soldiers and the emerging professional military establishment.

McCulloch was heir apparent to a long line of popularly chosen frontier military officers who rose to leadership positions despite a lack of formal training. Born in Tennessee, he figured prominently in Texas history, participating in the battle of San Jacinto and serving as a Texas Ranger and U.S. Marshal. He won distinction in the Mexican War, and during the Civil War he became the first civilian to receive a general's commission in the Confederate army when he took command of the Confederate forces in Arkansas and the Indian Territory and organized the Army of the West. He won a substantial victory over the Union army at Wilson's Creek in 1861 but was mortally wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge in 1862.

Despite McCulloch's many successes, Cutrer reveals, his career was hampered because he was not a member of the West Point-trained cadre that gained influence in the 1850s. Although by the last half of that decade he was seriously spoken of as a candidate for the U.S. Senate and the governorship of Texas, McCulloch was repeatedly passed over for the army appointments that he coveted. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis sought to form a new model army led by professionally trained officers, and McCulloch's purely practical experience put him at a disadvantage.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Inspired by Andrew Jackson, some young men--including Joe Lane, Sam Houston, and Ben McCulloch--went West seeking political and military careers. In this lively narrative, Cutrer relates McCulloch's career as a Texan: fighting at San Jacinto, leading Texas Rangers in chasing Comanche raiders, and commanding a Texas unit in the Mexican War, where his actions at the Battle of Buena Vista prevented what "might well have been an American disaster." McCulloch failed to become a colonel in the regular army because he lacked a West Point education and because he did not win favor with Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, but early in the Civil War, Confederate President Davis appointed McCulloch as a brigadier general and gave him a western command. McCulloch played a critical role in the victory at Wilson's Creek. Cutrer concludes that McCulloch's death in 1862 at Pea Ridge was a major reason for "the collapse of southern control of Missouri." Although William C. Davis's Jefferson Davis (1991) ignores McCulloch's relationship with Davis, Cutrer properly underscores it. This analytical biography contains fine maps and photographs and will be enjoyed by readers at all levels interested in military history. G. T. Edwards; Whitman College

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