Local author and Civil War historian Dr. Walter Earl Pittman will be signing copies of his new book, “New Mexico and the Civil War,” at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, 200 N. Lea Ave., and at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, at Hastings, 1705 N. Main St.
First published in May, the book provides an overview of the struggle for control of the Southwest and the New Mexico Territory in a concise fashion — nine chapters and 117 pages, to be exact. Pittman focuses the book from the Confederate invasion of 1861 to the Battles of Valverde and Glorieta to the end of the war.
“It’s short, simple and new,” he said in an interview this week.
He says one thing that makes his book stand out from the thousands of books on the Civil War is that he focuses on the Indian conflicts that occurred from 1863-65. He described it as “three-sided warfare” — North vs. South vs. the native bands of Navajo and Apache.
“This is unique,” he said. “You have two armies fighting at the same time they’re fighting the Indians. Three-sided wars are about the rarest thing in history. They just don’t happen.”
This condensed text, published by The History Press, is a part of a larger book Pittman is currently working on titled “Rebels in the Rockies: Confederate Irregular Warfare in the Far West.” He anticipates finishing that book by year’s end.
Pittman, a retired lieutenant colonel and retired history professor at Mississippi University for Women and at the University of West Alabama, is the author of five books on military and New Mexico history and mining, as well as 80 articles and papers on similar subjects.
He also taught at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. He has lived and worked in Roswell for the past three years, with his wife Kathleen, an associate professor at ENMU and Roswell native.