Posted: 1/05/17

TAMIU’s Thompson Repeats as Winner of Pate Award, 2016


Dr. Jerry Thompson
Regents Professor Dr. Jerry Thompson  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Regents Professor Dr. Jerry T. Thompson has been named the winner of the prestigious 2016 Pate Award for his book, A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia (University of New Mexico Press.)  This is the second Pate Award Thompson has received.  The first was received in 2006.

In notifying Dr. Thompson of his selection, Committee member Jim Rosenthal said, “We feel you did the best work on furthering research on the Trans-Mississippi sector of the Civil War.  This book will be the number one source for other historians covering any aspect of the New Mexico experience in the War.”

The Pate Award honors outstanding research done on the Trans-Mississippi sector of the Civil War. The book represents a 10-year effort and is the first scholarly study of the 6,500 Latinos from the Territory of New Mexico, who ably served on the southwestern frontier, Rosenthal noted.

“Its focus is on the Confederate Invasion of 1861-62 -- especially the bloody Battle of Valverde -- but the emphasis is on the soldiers themselves and on the companies in which they served. On the basis of service records and numerous other archival sources, Thompson was able to give the reader insight into how these units were recruited; who led them; how they were equipped; what they endured on the battlefield; how they adapted to military life and their interactions with other New Mexicans, hostile Indians, outlaws and deserters...It's thoroughness will provide a goldmine for historians of today and tomorrow. It represents a significant achievement in Civil War scholarship and is the epitome of what we try to encourage through this Award,” Rosenthal concluded.

Thompson will be recognized at a ceremony in Fort Worth Jan. 10.  He will provide a lecture on the book and receive the Award, which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize.

His 2006 Pate Award was for Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier.

In 2016, Thompson was the winner of the Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico (HSNM), also for A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia

One of the country’s leading Civil War historians, especially regarding 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 of 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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