Posted: 3/31/16

TAMIU’s Thompson Receives Domínguez Award from Historical Society of New Mexico


Dr. Jerry Thompson
Dr. Thompson receives prestigious Domínguez Award.  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Regents Professor of History Dr. Jerry Thompson been named the winner of the Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez Award by the Historical Society of New Mexico (HSNM) for his  book, A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia, (University of New Mexico Press). 

HSNM gives the annual Award to an outstanding publication or significant contribution to historic survey and research in New Mexico or Southwest borderlands history.  In notifying Dr. Thompson of the Award, HSNM noted “Your readable, thoroughly documented book is of considerable importance to the historiography of New Mexico in the late 19th Century, and cited one reviewer who observed, "nothing comes close in detailing the Texas invasion of New Mexico. I would not only recommend the book, I would suggest that the reading of it is imperative."  

The Award, which includes a 2017 HSNM membership, was presented at the HSNM Awards Banquet, reception and book signing in April.

Some 10 years in creation, Thompson’s A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia (University of New Mexico Press, 2015) with its 939 pages is a hefty confirmation of his commitment to revealing little-known elements of the Civil War in New Mexico Territory.

Writing in April's edition of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, reviewer Richard B. McCaslin of the University of North Texas, offered an evaluation of the book's importance.

"This elepantine tome appears to provide every detail any reasonable scholar might wish on the subject of New Mexico and New Mexicans in the Civil War...This work will deservedly stand as the definitive source on the Civil War in New Mexico for a long time to come," McCaslin writes. 

“The Civil War in New Mexico began in 1861 with the Confederate invasion and occupation of the Mesilla Valley. At the same time, small villages and towns in New Mexico Territory faced raids from Navajos and Apaches. In response, the commander of the Department of New Mexico, Colonel Edward Canby and Governor Henry Connelly recruited what became the First and Second New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. My book seeks to tell their story for the first time, along with the history of a third regiment of Mounted Infantry and several companies in a fourth regiment,” Thompson explained.

One of the country’s leading Civil War historians, especially its Southwest Campaign, Thompson is the author or editor of more than 24 books, including Texas and New Mexico on the Eve of the Civil War: The Mansfield and Johnston Inspections, 1859–1861 (UNM Press).

Among other publications are Civil War in the Southwest, A Wild and Vivid Land: An Illustrated History of the South Texas Border, Fifty Miles and a Fight: Samuel Peter Heintzelman's Journal or Texas and the Cortina War, and Into the Far, Wild Country: True Tales of the Old Southwest. He has also authored an award-winning biography of Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and, with Larry Jones, a history of the Civil War on the Rio Grande.

Thompson is finishing a biography of a Laredo Civil War leader entitled Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the History of the Texas-México Border, 1823-1891,  scheduled for publication by Texas Christian University Press in early 2017.

He has been part of TAMIU’s faculty since 1987, and holds his doctorate in history from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. His M.A. in history was received from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, while his B.A. in history was earned at Western New Mexico State University in Silver City, NM.

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Related Link:

Historical Society of New Mexico (HSNM)