Texas A&M International Dean Provides Forward to New Book

Dr. Jerry Thompson, Dean of Texas A&M International University's College of Arts and Humanities, has provided the foreward to an important new book edited by Clinton E. Brooks and Frank D. Reeve and written by James A. Bennett.

In the forward to "Forts and Forays: A Dragoon in New Mexico, 1850- 1856" Thompson's discusses the importance of the author's account to frontier military and southwestern history.

The 122-page book, available from the University of New Mexico Press, is an enlisted man's journal of frontier soldiering in the pre-Civil War Southwest.

It recounts the author's enlistment in 1849, brutal training on Governor's Island, New York, trip across the plains to New Mexico and six- years of service with the First Dragoons.

Journal passages tell of punishing desert campaigns against the Apaches, Utes and Navajos, scouting with Kit Carson and Uncle Dick Wooton, fighting for his life at the Battle of Cienguilla and recuperating from severe combat wounds afterward.

Critical of the officers' arbitrary violence against enlisted men, Bennett deserted to Mexico in 1857 and returned to New York.

Thompson, a prolific writer, is considered one of the country's top scholars on the Southwest Campaign of the US Civil War and border history.

His most recent book, "Juan Cortina and the Texas-Mexico Border, 1859-1877," was a finalist for Best Short Non-Fiction in the Western Writers of Americas Spur Awards Competition.

He also wrote "Adrian J. Vidal: Soldier of Three Republics," included in the Hispanic Genealogical Journal, Vol. 14 (1996).

Thompson, Professor of History at A&M International, was named Dean Sept. 1. A former Piper Professor, he was recently named to the editorial board of the Journal of Arizona History.