“An Arch Rebel Like Myself”

Dan Showalter and the Civil War in California and Texas


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About the Book

Dan Showalter was Speaker Pro Tem of the California State Assembly at the outbreak of the Civil War and the exemplar of treason in the Far West among the pro–Union press. He gained notoriety as the survivor of California’s last political (and actual, fatal) duel, for his role in the display of a Confederate flag in Sacramento, and for his imprisonment after an armed confrontation with Union troops. Escaping to Texas, he distinguished himself in the Confederate service in naval battles and in pursuit of Comanche raiders. As commander of the 4th Arizona Cavalry, he helped recapture the Rio Grande Valley from the Union and defended Brownsville against a combined Union and Mexican force. Refusing to surrender at war’s end, he fled to Mexico, where he died of a wound sustained in a drunken bar fight at age 35.

About the Author(s)

The late Gene C. Armistead was a veteran Marine officer of the Vietnam War and the author of several articles, essays and two books about the Civil War.
Robert D. Arconti is a retired legal editor. In 2010-11, he researched and was co-curator of an exhibit on Showalter for the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, California. He lives in Stafford, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Gene C. Armistead and Robert D. Arconti
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7461-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3338-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: The Love Letter 1
One • Before California 5
Two • Mariposa Life and Political Beginnings 15
Three • The California Assembly of 1861 36
Four • The Duel and Its Aftermath 71
Five • The Showalter Party 86
Six • Texas and the Indian Territory, 1863 110
Seven • On the Rio Grande, 1864 128
Eight • Arch Rebel to the End 157
Nine • The Man Dan Showalter 176
Appendix A: Regina Seeley’s Letter 183
Appendix B: Showalter in Fiction 188
Appendix C: Prevalent Misinformation Refuted 190
Appendix D: Memorialization of Showalter 193
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 215
Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Finalist, Book of the Year Award—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “[Showalter’s] historically significant and largely untold life story is examined for the first time in comprehensive fashion…might very well be the final word on the military and political careers of Daniel Showalter…fine biography.”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “This stunning historical inquiry into the pugnacious life and times of Dan Showalter is ambitious in scope and fascinating in its content. The authors paint a panoramic view of the Southwest borderlands in those tumultuous Civil War years without losing sight of the details of the life of an absolutely fascinating individual. This meticulously researched and compelling story is likely to keep the reader captivated. Needless to say, this masterful and definitive study is highly recommended.”—Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor, Texas A&M International University and past president of the Texas State Historical Association.