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Violence in the Hill Country

Violence in the Hill Country
The Texas Frontier in the Civil War Era

An in-depth history of the Civil War in the Texas Hill Country, this book examines patterns of violence on the Texas frontier to illuminate white Americans’ cultural and political priorities in the nineteenth century.

Series: Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Endowment

February 2021
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288 pages | 6 x 9 |

In the nineteenth century, Texas’s advancing western frontier was the site of one of America’s longest conflicts between white settlers and native peoples. The Texas Hill Country functioned as a kind of borderland within the larger borderland of Texas itself, a vast and fluid area where, during the Civil War, the slaveholding South and the nominally free-labor West collided. As in many borderlands, Nicholas Roland argues, the Hill Country was marked by violence, as one set of peoples, states, and systems eventually displaced others.

In this painstakingly researched book, Roland analyzes patterns of violence in the Texas Hill Country to examine the cultural and political priorities of white settlers and their interaction with the century-defining process of national integration and state-building in the Civil War era. He traces the role of violence in the region from the eve of the Civil War, through secession and the Indian wars, and into Reconstruction. Revealing a bitter history of warfare, criminality, divided communities, political violence, vengeance killings, and economic struggle, Roland positions the Texas Hill Country as emblematic of the Southwest of its time.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One. The Texas Hill Country on the Eve of the Civil War
  • Chapter Two. The Hill Country in Antebellum Politics and the Secession Crisis
  • Chapter Three. From Secession to the Nueces River
  • Chapter Four. Indians, Inflation, and Bushwhackers
  • Chapter Five. Civil War and Political Violence
  • Chapter Six. Reconciliation and the Incorporation of the Texas Frontier
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix A. Indian Raiding Deaths during the Civil War
  • Appendix B. Casualties of Civil War Violence, 1862–1865
  • Appendix C. Indian Raiding Deaths after the Civil War
  • Notes
  • Index

Nicholas Roland is a historian at the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, DC.


“[A] fascinating new study...Employing a sophisticated and creative research and analysis of Texas Hill Country patterns of interpersonal, ethnic, political, and economic violence during the key transitional period of the mid to late nineteenth-century, Nicholas Roland skillfully weaves into his narrative a host of local, state, and national contexts the overall assessment of which forms a welcome, even vital, contribution to the literature of westward expansion. A multitude of scholarly and popular reading audiences, including American Civil War, Indian Wars, Southwest borderlands, and German American immigrant history students, are abundantly well served through the contents of this book. Violence in the Hill Country is highly recommended.”
Civil War Books and Authors

“More than a case study of the Texas Hill Country, this book helps us better understand westward expansion and the ways in which the Civil War increased tension and violence among white settlers on the frontier of the slave South. The analysis is always sound, frequently very insightful, and based on outstanding research in both published and unpublished sources.”
William D. Carrigan, Rowan University, author of The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836-1916

“An insightful study of how the violence of insurgency and counterinsurgency shaped the Texas Hill Country's ethnic, social, economic, and political relations during the Civil War era. Accounting for nearly timeless global patterns, Roland's work will be of interest not only to historians but also to security scholars.”
Lance R. Blyth, Command Historian, NORAD and US Northern Command, author of Chiricahua and Janos: Communities of Violence in the Southwestern Borderlands, 1680-1880


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca