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Forts and Forays: A Dragoon in New Mexico, 1850-1856

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Forts and Forays: A Dragoon in New Mexico, 1850-1856.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    James A. Bennett(Author),Clinton E. Brooks(Editor),Frank Driver Reeve(Editor)

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Forts and Forays is a rare account of frontier soldiering in the pre-Civil War Southwest by an enlisted man. James A. Bennett joined the regular army in 1849 and was stationed in New Mexico for six years before he deserted to Mexico. Assigned to the First Dragoons, he visited most major New Mexico posts such as Forts Union, Craig, and Fillmore. His company was stationed at or passed through Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Socorro, and other New Mexico settlements. In six years, his rank climbed from private to sergeant before an unknown infraction reduced him to the ranks. Bennett served under future Civil War generals Edwin V. Sumner, Richard S. Ewell, and John W. Davidson. Frontier luminaries Kit Carson and Uncle Dick Wootton scouted for his dragoon company. During his service, Bennett waged war on the Jicarilla, Mogollon, Mescalero, and Mimbres Apaches, the Navajos, and the Utes, suffering serious wounds at the Battle of Clenguilla.
Forts and Forays is a unique glimpse into the routine duties and terrifying ordeals of soldiering in the antebellum Southwest. Jerry Thompson's foreword discusses the importance of Bennett's account to frontier military and southwestern history.

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Review Text

  • By Rifleman Jim on April 7, 2013

    Bennett was more literate than most antebellum soldiers. His insights and comments on conditions and on life in the pre-Civil War army are illuminating and well told.

  • By [email protected] on April 21, 1999

    This is the diary of James Bennett, a young man who enlisted in the U.S. Dragoons in 1849 and served 7 years on the frontier at various posts in New Mexico. He encountered many figures known to history and traveled widely over the frontier from Texas to Wyoming to California.Bennett's service saw him involved in battles with Indians, surveying the Gadsden Purchase and involved in the life of communities where American and Mexican cultures intermingled.This book is a must for anyone interested in military history or life on the frontier prior to the Civil War


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