Texas was the South's frontier in the antebellum period. The vast new state represented the hope and future of many Southern cotton planters. As a result, Texas changed tremendously during the 1850s as increasing numbers of Southern planters moved westward to settle. Planters brought with them large numbers of slaves to plant, cultivate and pick the valuable cash crop; by 1860, slaves made up 30 percent of the total Texas population. No state in the South grew nearly as fast as Texas during this decade, and as the booming economy for cotton led the economic development, the state became increasingly embroiled in the national debate about whether slavery should exist within a democratic republic dedicated to the freedom and independence of man. This work is centered on the role played by the town of Chappell Hill during this portion of Texas history. It offers details about the area's pre-war prosperity as a center of wealth, influence and aristocracy and describes the angry fervor of the period leading up to the war. Men of this small town played a role in many of the major campaigns and battles of the war, and their motivations for enlisting and their tales of duty are included here. Through excerpts from their correspondence and journals, the book emphasizes personal experiences of the soldiers. Post-war adventures are also offered as the author explores Texas resistance to Federal occupation, the town's yellow fever epidemic and a period of reconciliation as aging veterans gather at Blue-Gray reunions to reunite the nation.
Stephen Chicoine is the author of numerous books on history. He lived in Texas for more than twenty-five years and now lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. His website can be accessed at www.freedomhistory.com.