We are pleased to announce that the 2016 A. M. Pate, Jr. Award in Civil War History goes to Dr. Jerry Thompson for his “A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia.” The award is given to honor outstanding research done on the Trans-Mississippi sector of the Civil War. The book represents a 10-year effort and is the first scholarly study of the 6,500 Latinos from the Territory of New Mexico, who ably served on the southwestern frontier.
The focus of the book is on the Confederate Invasion of 1861-62 and it’s effects – especially the bloody Battle of Valverde. But the emphasis is on the soldier’s themselves and on the companies in which they served. On the basis of service records and numerous other archival sources Jerry is able to give the reader insight into how these units were recruited; who led them; how they were equipped; what they endured on the battlefield; how they adapted to military life and their interactions with other New Mexicans, hostile Indians, outlaws and deserters.
The book is a monumental 939 pages in length. But it’s thoroughness will provide a goldmine for historians of today and tomorrow. It represents a significant achievement in Civil War scholarship and is the epitome of what we try to encourage through this Award.
Here are some of the reviews on the book.
From Civil War Books and Authors:
“New Mexico Territory during the Civil War provides a treasure trove of data pertaining to the supply and operation of frontier military posts in the southwest. Jerry Thompson has contributed to the Civil War literature a book that will appeal to a range of interested readers, from the avocational enthusiast to the professional historian.”
From The Civil War Book Review:
“Thompson deserves high praise for his book. Through his efforts, Thompson has brought to life the story of many of the individuals who helped defend the New Mexico Territory during the Civil War era. While focusing primarily on the Union perspective during the conflict, Thompson has tried to do justice to all of the combatants in that area during the four years in question. Most importantly, Thompson has shown how a relatively small group of individuals (most of whom had been American citizens for only 15 years) helped their new nation maintain its authority in the face of a determined enemy during our country’s crucial moment of truth.”
From Project Muse:
“In the end, Thompson’s magisterial volume will likely remain the authority on New Mexico’s wartime military organizations and the men who served in them for years to come.”