In the states of the former Confederacy, Reconstruction amounted to a second Civil War, one that white southerners were determined to win. An important chapter in that undeclared conflict played out in northeast Texas, in the Corners region where Grayson, Fannin, Hunt, and Collin Counties converged. Part of that violence came to be called the Lee-Peacock Feud, a struggle in which Unionists led by Lewis Peacock and former Confederates led by Bob Lee sought to even old scores, as well as to set the terms of the new South, especially regarding the status of freed slaves. Until recently, the Lee-Peacock violence has been placed squarely within the Lost Cause mythology. This account sets the record straight. For Bob Lee, a Confederate veteran, the new phase of the war began when he refused to release his slaves. When Federal officials came to his farm in July to enforce emancipation, he fought back and finally fled as a fugitive. In the relatively short time left to his life, he claimed personally to have killed at least forty people--civilian and military, Unionists and freedmen. Peacock, a dedicated leader of the Unionist efforts, became his primary target and chief foe. Both men eventually died at the hands of each other's supporters. From previously untapped sources in the National Archives and other records, the authors have tracked down the details of the Corners violence and the larger issues it reflected, adding to the reinterpretation of Reconstruction history and rescuing from myth events that shaped the following century of Southern politics.
A native Texas, James M. Smallwood recently retired from Oklahoma State University, where he had been a professor of history since 1975. He has also taught at Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Seton Hall, and the University of Kyoto, Japan. His 1981 book Time of Hope, Time of Despair: Black Texans during Reconstruction won the Texas Historical Association's Coral H. Tullis Award for best book of the year on Texas history. The late Barry A. Crouch was a long-time professor of history at Gallaudet University where he taught U.S. history and history of the South. He is the author of The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans and coauthor of Cullen Montgomery Baker: Reconstruction Desperado, which he wrote with Donaly Brice. Larry Peacock is a genealogist and historian who lives in Burleson, Texas, and recently retired from WFAA-TV. He owns the Handgun Academy of Burleson and has an avid interest in Texas history, particularly that of the North-Northeast region of the state.