Union General

Samuel Ryan Curtis and Victory in the West

William L Shea

Union General tells the story of the most successful Federal general west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War, Samuel Ryan Curtis (1805-1866).
Publication date:
January 2023
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781640125186

Dimensions : 229 X 159 mm


• No biographies of Curtis exist today
• Curtis was the most effective federal commander in the Trans-Mississippi region

Union General is the first biography of Samuel Ryan Curtis, the most important and most successful general on either side in the Civil War west of the Mississippi River. Curtis was a West Point graduate, Mexican War veteran, and determined foe of secession who gave up his seat in Congress to fight for the Union. At Pea Ridge in 1862 and Westport in 1864, he marched hundreds of miles across hostile countryside, routed Confederate armies larger than his own, and reestablished Federal control over large swathes of rebel territory.

In addition to his remarkable success as a largely independent field commander, Curtis was one of only a handful of abolitionist generals in the Union army. He dealt a heavy blow to slavery in the Trans-Mississippi and Mississippi Valley months before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. His enlightened racial policies and practices generated a storm of criticism and led to his temporary suspension in the middle of the conflict
face=Calibri>- but he was restored to active duty in time to win a crushing victory at Westport, where he saved Kansas and put an end to Price's Raid.

Before the war Curtis was an accomplished civil engineer, a prime mover of the transcontinental railroad, and an important figure in the emerging Republican Party and was elected three times to the House of Representatives from Iowa. After the war he participated in pioneering efforts in peacemaking with the Plains Indians and helped oversee construction of the Union Pacific across Nebraska. This biography restores Curtis to his rightful place in American history and adds significantly to our understanding of the Civil War.