The Trans-Appalachian Wars, 1790-1818: Pathways to America's First Empire

Trafford Publishing
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Much is known about the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Relatively little is known about the wars to conquer the Trans-Appalachian West; the area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Yet, in terms of political ramifications and intrigue, military strategies and tactics, and interactions between different entities and individuals, these campaigns rank high on the scale of complexity and interest.
Just as other wars highlighted great generals; Washington, Lee, and Grant, and memorable battles; Spotsylvania, The Bulge, and The Persian Gulf Flank Run, the Trans-Appalachian Wars had impressive features as well. These wars encompassed the five action phases: The Indian (or Woodland) Wars, 1790-1795, The War of 1812 in the Old Northwest, 1811-1813, The Creek War, 1813-1814, The War of 1812 in the Old Southwest, 1814-1815, and The Stabilization of the Gulf Coast, 1811-1818.

They brought to the fore three great generals; Mad Anthony Wayne, William Henry Harrison, and Andrew Jackson, who fought and won five great battles: The Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794; The Battle of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811; The Battle of the Thames, October 8, 1813; The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, March 27, 1814; and The Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815.

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About the author

John Eric Vining is a lifelong student of history. He lives in close proximity to the battlefields and campaign routes of the mid-western and southern wars between 1790 and 1818 to lend a personal perspective to his first book. John lives with his wife and family in Ohio City, Ohio.

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Additional Information

Trafford Publishing
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Published on
Jan 28, 2010
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Political Science / General
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 On both sides of the turn of the twentieth century, there emerged a style of writing that was a distant kin to the modern historical novel. It was known as Les Guerres Imaginaires, which can basically be translated into “The Imaginary War.” It was a literary device used to tell how future wars might occur and be fought. This type of novel was written by military authors who sought to mold and enhance their foresight with intricate historical and political analyses. Examples of this genre include “The Battle of Dorking,” a 1871 short story in Blackwood’s Magazine by Sir George Tomkyns Chesney; The Great Naval War of 1887, written in 1886 by Sir William Laird Clowes and Commander Charles N. Robinson; The Great War of 189-, A Forecast, by Rear Admiral Philip Colomb, written in 1893; The War Inevitable (1908), by Alan H. Burgoyne; The Valor of Ignorance (1909), by Homer Lea; and two great novels of the 1920s, Sea Power in the Pacific (1920) and The Great Pacific War (1925), by Hector Bywater. John Eric Vining resurrects a mirror image of this genre to look back into history and explore what might have happened if Mexico had taken Germany’s 1917 Zimmermann Telegram seriously and attempted to recapture the American Southwest at the height of World War I. While this is fantastically unbelievable at first glance, a further analysis is warranted. What you might find is that not only was a Mexican invasion of the American Southwest quite possible in 1917, the real surprise is that it did not happen in the actual history of World War I! Take the plunge and see for yourself if it might have been possible for the United States and Mexico to have fought the Great Southwestern War of 1917.
 Mark Gamble is one of the greatest sharpshooters in the Civil War’s Confederate Army of Tennessee. He is well-known on both sides of the battle line: revered by his compatriots and feared by his enemies. Mark’s own fear is that his soul is lost forever as his lust for killing increasingly takes over his entire being.

After he is severely wounded at the Battle of Lookout Mountain on November 24, 1863, Mark is captured by Union soldiers and placed in a federal military hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There he is nursed back to health by the lovely Ruth Taylor, a Quaker nurse/volunteer at the hospital. Falling in love with the gentle and caring Ruth, he eventually wins her hand in marriage. The war ends. Mark converts to the Society of Friends, and Mark and Ruth settle into what would seem to be a “happily ever after” life of farming in the lush valleys of the Appalachian Mountains near Allentown, Pennsylvania.

But Ruth feels a call in her life to serve as a missionary to the Brule Lakota (Sioux) in Western Nebraska—a tribe that is slowly being decimated by white encroachment. With deep misgivings, Mark agrees to accompany her, and the couple moves to the West to answer Ruth’s calling.

Can Ruth survive the tough, brutal life of a Great Plains wife and missionary? Can Mark serve as both a companion to his wife and a mentor to the distrusting Native American tribe while withstanding the pressures inherent to an Indian agent? Most importantly, can Mark, with the grace of God and a spirit of self-forgiveness, find redemption for his many transgressions as a missionary to a dying race on the bleak, windswept barrens of the western Great Plains?

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