James Bailey Blackshear and Glen Sample Ely

Nov 23, 2021

Confederates and Comancheros

Skullduggery and Double-Dealing in the Texas-New Mexico Borderlands

University of Oklahoma Press 2021

A vast and desolate region, the Texas-New Mexico borderlands have long been an ideal setting for intrigue and illegal dealings--never more so than in the lawless early days of cattle trafficking and trade among the Plains tribes and Comancheros. This book takes us to the borderlands in the 1860s and 1870s for an in-depth look at Union-Confederate skullduggery amid the infamous Comanche-Comanchero trade in stolen Texas livestock.

In 1862, the Confederates abandoned New Mexico Territory and Texas west of the Pecos River, fully expecting to return someday. Meanwhile, administered by Union troops under martial law, the region became a hotbed of Rebel exiles and spies, who gathered intelligence, disrupted federal supply lines, and plotted to retake the Southwest. Using a treasure trove of previously unexplored documents, authors James Bailey Blackshear and Glen Sample Ely trace the complicated network of relationships that drew both Texas cattlemen and Comancheros into these borderlands, revealing the urban elite who were heavily involved in both the legal and illegal transactions that fueled the region's economy.

James Bailey Blackshear and Glen Sample Ely's Confederates and Comancheros: Skullduggery and Double-Dealing in the Texas-New Mexico Borderlands (U Oklahoma Press, 2021) deftly weaves a complex tale of Texan overreach and New Mexican resistance, explores cattle drives and cattle rustling, and details shady government contracts and bloody frontier justice. Peopled with Rebels and bluecoats, Comanches and Comancheros, Texas cattlemen and New Mexican merchants, opportunistic Indian agents and Anglo arms dealers, this book illustrates how central these contested borderlands were to the history of the American West.

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