Civil War Scoundrels and the Texas Cotton Trade

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About the Book

During the Civil War, scoundrels from both the Union and Confederate sides were able to execute illicit, but ingenious, schemes to acquire Texas cotton. Texas was the only Confederate state that bordered a neutral country, it was never forcibly conquered, and its coast was impossible to effectively blockade.
Using little known contemporary sources, this story reveals how charlatans exploited these conditions to run the blockade, import machinery and weapons, and defraud the state’s most prominent political, military and civilian leaders in the process. Best known for his role in the romantic entanglements of his co-conspirator William Sprague, Harris Hoyt stands out due to his sharp intellect and fascinating character. Hoyt was able to draw most of Abraham Lincoln’s inner circle into his web of deceit and even influenced the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. This is the first account to expose the depth and breadth of the many Texas cotton trading scams and the sheer audacity of the shadowy men who profited from them, but managed to escape the gallows.

About the Author(s)

Walter E. Wilson, a retired Navy Captain and former head of U.S. Naval Intelligence operations in Europe, has authored numerous articles and reviews.

Bibliographic Details

Walter E. Wilson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info:
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8127-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4038-9
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

Civil War Scoundrels and the Texas Cotton Trade is a masterful and meticulously wrought account of frontier grifter Harris Hoyt’s Texas adventure, a sprawling Civil War swindle featuring a motley cohort of scamsters and crooked public officials.”—Stephen G. Michaud, author of Dark Dreams and The Only Living Witness