Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Books With Staying Power

As mentioned in an earlier posting, historians often cite Annie Heloise Abel’s trilogy about the slaveholding Indians in the Indian Territory. Four books by Union veteran Wiley Britton also regularly crop up in book citations. Born near Neosho, Missouri, in 1841, Britton enlisted in March 1862 in Company K of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, a regiment that saw much service in the border area. Based on a diary, his Memoirs of the Rebellion on the Border: 1863 is a good chronicle of campaigning and contains excellent descriptions of the people and geography of Arkansas, the Indian Territory, and Missouri. Pioneer Life in Southwest Missouri relates facts of Britton’s early life and the Civil War years in southwest Missouri. Britton used his diary, official records, and papers loaned to him by participants in writing The Civil War On The Border in two volumes. This work was the first to focus exclusively on the entire war along the border, and it ranks as Britton’s most cited work along with his Memoirs. An inferior work, and one less cited, is The Union Indian Brigade In The Civil War that provides too little specific information about the brigade to even be considered as a unit history. Like Abel, Wiley Britton was also a pioneering historian of the trans-Mississippi. He died in 1930 at the Old Soldiers Home in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Bibliographic citations for his books:

Britton, Wiley. The Civil War On The Border. 2 vols. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1899-1904; reprint ed., Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, 1994.

Britton, Wiley. Memoirs of the Rebellion on the Border: 1863. Chicago: Cushing, Thomas, and Co., 1882; reprint ed., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Britton, Wiley. Pioneer Life in Southwest Missouri. Columbia: State Historical Society of Missouri, 1923.

Britton, Wiley. The Union Indian Brigade In The Civil War. Kansas City, MO: Franklin Hudson Publishing Co., 1922; reprint ed., Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, n.d.

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