Uniforms of the Republic of Texas and the Men Who Wore Them, 1836-1848, by Bruce Marshall, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, Pa., 1999, $19.95.
Were the armed forces of Texas outfitted in coonskin caps, buckskin and homespun and equipped with long Kentucky squirrel rifles, as in a John Wayne movie? The answer is an emphatic no, according to award-winning author-artist Bruce Marshall. As illustrated in his book Uniforms of the Republic of Texas, members of the republic’s army, navy, marine corps and even some ranger and militia units were smartly uniformed and equipped with the latest weaponry. Marshall provides enough documentation to satisfy any skeptic, but the highlight of the book is 26 meticulously detailed color plates by the author, showing both dress and field uniforms, weapons, accouterments, flags and insignia.
The high point for Texas’ military came under its second president, Mirabeau B. Lamar, who wanted the republic to become an empire. Under his administration the republic had more uniforms than soldiers. Uniforms of the Republic of Texas also contains a year-by-year history of the triumphs and tragedies of Texas’ turbulent decade of independence, providing a useful guide not only for aficionados of unusual uniforms but also for historians curious about origins of the Texas mystique.