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Participant name: Megan Nelson
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Megan Kate Nelson
Unaffiliated independent scholar

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 9/30/2018

How the West was Won--and Lost--during the American Civil War

A book on the Civil War in the American Southwest, including its impact on settlers, Native Americans, and the environment.

Path of the Dead Man tells the little-known story of the American Civil War in the Southwest through the experiences of nine individuals: three Union soldiers, two Confederate soldiers, two Native Americans, and two Anglo civilians. It argues that the Confederate loss of the West hurt their chances to win the war in the East. Once the Union Army regained control of the region, Republicans passed a series of acts to “settle” the West, to fill it with free laborers. To achieve this vision the Union Army also had to exterminate or remove the West’s Native Americans. Thus, their campaigns against Navajos and Apaches were vital to the Republican political project. The Union succeeded in these efforts due the army’s ability to control the Southwest’s natural resources. Path of the Dead Man reconfigures three of America's epic narratives (the Civil War, the Indian wars, and westward expansion) and will appeal to general and academic readers.