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  • Texas Talks: Under the Double Eagle with author "Ty" Smith

Texas Talks: Under the Double Eagle with author "Ty" Smith

  • Tuesday, November 21, 2023
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Online Presentation


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Under the Double Eagle: Citizen Employees of the U.S. Army on the Texas Frontier, 1846–1899

By Col. (Ret.) Thomas T. “Ty” Smith

In the first detailed study of its kind, Col. (Ret.) Thomas T. “Ty” Smith, known for his extensive research and writing on the U.S. Army in Texas, presents an in-depth examination of the civilian employees of the army in the nineteenth century. Under the Double Eagle: Citizen Employees of the U.S. Army on the Texas Frontier, 1846–1899 reflects the fact that citizens employed by the frontier army in Texas came under the impact of two symbolic eagles. The first was the eagle impressed into gilt buttons on the uniforms of the army officers for whom they labored. The second was the double eagle twenty-dollar gold piece they often received at the pay table, especially in the antebellum era, when all army wages were paid in hard coin rather than paper. Those two eagles had a lasting impact on the Texas frontier.

Between 1846 and 1899, the U.S. Army in Texas issued more than $4 million in wages to citizen employees. Smith offers a detailed accounting of these wages, but his primary interest is in the people. After an introductory essay providing an overview, historical context, and demographic profiles, the author examines post by post the 111 army forts, camps, and stations documenting a civilian employee. He provides a brief history of each post, the names of the individuals employed, and where possible the position, wage, and length of employment. Altogether Smith names 1,721 army employees, and sample biographies demonstrate the diversity of the characters involved. Included among these employees are 309 civilian physicians. In the appendix, Smith offers biographies of 180 of these contract doctors who greatly contributed to the advance of medicine in Texas. This work will be of importance to historians, to the general public with an interest in Texas history or Texas medicine, and especially genealogists.

Under the Double Eagle is currently available for pre-order at our Legacy of Texas bookstore:  https://www.legacyoftexas.com/product/under-the-double-eagle-citizen-employees-of-the-u-s-army-on-the-texas-frontier-1846-1899

Published by Texas State Historical Association
978-1-62511-057-2 printed case, $100
6 x 9 in
512 pp., 76 tables, 13 black
978-1-62511-073-2 ebook, $35


About the author:

Thomas T. “Ty” Smith, Col. (Ret.) U. S. Army, of San Antonio, is the author of numerous articles and books including The Old Army in Texas: A Research Guide to the U. S. Army in Nineteenth-Century Texas (Texas State Historical Association, 2000), and The Old Army in the Big Bend of Texas: The Last Cavalry Frontier, 1911–1921 (Texas State Historical Association, 2018). He is a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association.


Texas Talks is made possible in part from a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

All Rights Reserved | Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization | Austin, TX

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