The First Indian Home Guards and the Civil War of the Trans-Mississippi Frontier
M. Jane Johansson, ed. Albert C. Ellithorpe the First Indian Home Guards and the Civil War of the Trans-Mississippi Frontier. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press (2016).
The title is a mouthful, but the fact is that this intriguing book does triple duty. First, there is the story of Albert C. Ellithorpe, who in addition to his service in the Civil War, led a colorful life in Chicago as a businessman, inventor, and prominent citizen. Second is the account of the First Indian Home Guards, the triracial unit that Ellithorpe led. And third, there is a window onto a rarely illuminated theater of the Civil War, the Trans-Mississippi frontier. The book draws generously on Ellithorpe’s journals and his many published letters in a Chicago newspaper (yes, Ellithorpe was a writer, too!). Johansson credits herself as the “editor,” but she truly deserves author credit because of her contextualization of the chapters in Ellithorpe’s life, as well as her tremendous archival work.
In his Author! Author! blog series, Museum president Gary T. Johnson highlights works that draw on our collection.