by John N. Edwards
Confederate general Joseph O. Shelby and his legendary Iron Brigade refused to acknowledge the end of the Civil War. Instead, they fought their way to Mexico in search of a place where they could continue to defy the U.S. government. These veteran Missouri cavalrymen clawed their way for fifteen hundred miles, fighting Juaristas, Indians, desperados, and disgruntled gringos. They disbanded only after they had offered their services to Emperor Maximilian and were turned down.
Shelby’s adjutant, journalist John N. Edwards, first published his story of the exploits of this superb mounted brigade and its quixotic final march in 1872. Conger Beasley provides a lively introduction that includes the first biographical sketch of the author. The 1969 movie The Undefeated starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson was based upon Shelby's expedition.
“The story of probably the most colorful and important adventure of ex-Confederates in postwar Mexico. . . . An expertly edited reprint of the history of a most unusual and enlightening chapter of the Civil War . . . it will be both enjoyed and valued by anyone interested in the war in the western states and territories.” — Civil War Book Review
“This is the romantic yet authentic tale of how brave men with brave hopes sought to redeem defeat in one war by victory in another war, only again to lose all save honor. A classic.” — Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864
". . . [R]ecords the acts and sufferings of a body of men as desperately brave and as wildly adventurous as any whom the world has known. . . . [This is] a story to dazzle the fancy and stir the blood with deeds of desperate valor, with hair-breadth escapes, with splendors of tropical scenery, and horrors of Mexican cruelty. . . . [The] author, after the manner of Victor Hugo, whose style he has taken for his model, has thrown some arabesques of a lively imagination around and among his historical figures." — September 1874, Southern Magazine, The Transactions of the Southern Historical Society
"Shelby's Expedition to Mexico is the romantic yet authentic tale of how brave men with brave hopes sought to redeem defeat in one war by victory in another war, only again to lose all save honor. A classic." — Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 (Kansas, 1995)
Conger Beasley Jr. is the author of a number of books, including Patagonia: Wild Land at the End of the Earth; Spanish Peaks; We Are a People in the World: The Lakota Sioux and the Massacre at Wounded Knee; and Sundancers and River Demons: Essays on Landscape and Ritual (University of Arkansas Press), winner of the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Achievement.