NMJC Professor Receives Award for Book
4/26/2007 5:05:03 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College history professor Stephen Townsend was recently honored at the University of Texas at Austin with an award for his book The Yankee Invasion of Texas.
Townsend, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas, received the Kate Broocks Bates Award from the Texas State Historical Association in March at the organization's 111th annual conference. The Award is given to the author of a "significant piece of historical research dealing with . . . Texas history prior to 1900." Along with the award, Townsend received a check for $3,000.
The book focuses on the Civil War in 1863, a year that marked a turning point for Union armies on the battlefield. Two July victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg and the crushing Confederate defeat at Chattanooga marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.
Although the Confederacy had been cut in two by the Union victories, the states west of the Mississippi still caused grave concern for Lincoln. The one state that represented the most problems was Texas.
Townsend's book, The Yankee Invasion of Texas, tells the story of the Rio Grande Expedition, which lasted from October 1863 until the withdrawal of Union troops from most of Texas in March 1864. According to its publisher, Texas A & M University Press, Townsend's "careful recounting and analysis add a vital link to understanding the Civil War west of the Mississippi."
In honor of Townsend's achievement, New Mexico Junior College hosted a book signing at the college's Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 26, from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.