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

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9780944383353: Civil War in Apacheland: Sergeant George Hand's Diary, 1861-1864
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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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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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