UP FROM THE ASHES
A Western Quest Series Novel
The sacred soil of Texas had hardly been disrupted by Union soldiers during the War of Northern Invasion. Skirmishes and a handful of larger encounters had occurred around Brownsville and the Rio Grande River. There had been a heroic battle at Sabine Pass where a handful of Confederate soldiers and well handled cannon had turned back a Yankee fleet. Galveston Island had fallen briefly into the hands of the Federal navy, only to be driven away until the end of the war. But the interior of Texas had not seen blue-clad armies marching down its roads and ravishing the land.
Tens of thousands of men and boys had marched east to repel the Yankee invasion. One out of four never returned. Many of those who returned did so with broken bodies, and all carried emotional scars that never completely healed.
On June 19, 1865, the heavy boots of victorious Union troops ground ashore at Galveston and spread inland like a plague on the defeated and prostrate state. That day is remembered as “Juneteenth,” a day of jubilee for the slaves in Texas. But that day should also be remembered as the day that the boots of those same soldiers began pressing the grapes of wrath in the winepress of Reconstruction.
These tough Texans had seen Mexico throw off the yoke of Spain. Texas had won its independence in a short brutal war with Mexico. After almost a decade as a republic, Texas had finally become part of the United States, only to become embroiled in a bloody war with Mexico to maintain her freedom. Texans had battled Indians, drought, and disease. Nothing had come easily to these resilient people. But what was to come in the long, dark days of Reconstruction would test them to the depths of their souls. Their “never say die” spirit, which had sustained them in the past, would be pushed to its limits.