Here is a very enjoyable Civil War biography. General Blunt was the only Civil War Kansas major general in the Union Army. He served in the trans-Mississippi west of the Civil War, leading many campaigns against the Confederacy. He was involved in the Battles of Prairie Grove in Arkansas in 1862, Honey Springs and others in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1863. In 1864 and early 1865, he was involved in preparations to invade Texas, but the war ended before he had a chance to do that.
General Blunt was born in Maine in 1826 and attended the Ellsworth Military Academy a high school for boys. He moved to Ohio in 1845 and attended Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio. His uncle, Dr. Rufus Gilpatrick, was one of his teachers. He graduated in 1849 and married Nancy G. Putnam in 1850. In 1856 he moved to Kansas. A committed abolitionist and Republican, he was involved in Kansas politics that eventually led to that territory entering the Union as a free state. His involvement in Kansas politics helped him to become a friend of one of Kansas’ most powerful politicians, James Lane, who became one of Kansas’ first U.S. senators.
When the Civil War broke out, Senator Lane got Blunt a commission as a brigadier general. Blunt was a pretty successful general in battle most of the time, but he had a bad temper and used very foul language which offended many people. He was very stubborn and would not back down in a conflict without always justify his actions. He was accused of corruption in military business and was known as a womanizer. He could have gone far, but his bad behavior prevented this from happening, which justifies the subtitle “Tarnished Glory.”
Robert Collins, a Kansas freelance writer, has written on a variety of topics ranging from history to science fiction. His previous books are Kansas Railroad Attractions (2004) and Ghost Railroads of Kansas (1997). He has written articles for the magazines Wild West and Chronicle of the Old West.
The book would have gotten five stars if there were no typos. There are wonderful photos and clear maps. Collins provides a good bibliography and a short index. Overall the book is a good one and a joy to read. It is recommended to those interested in the Civil War, especially the trans-Mississippi West, or those interested in Kansas history.