John Potts Slough, the Union commander at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, lived a life of relentless pursuit for success that entangled him in the turbulent events of mid-nineteenth-century America. As a politician, Slough fought abolitionists in the Ohio legislature and during Kansas Territory's fourth and final constitutional convention. He organized the 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry after the Civil War broke out, eventually leading his men against Confederate forces at the pivotal engagement at Glorieta Pass. After the war, as chief justice of the New Mexico Territorial Supreme Court, he struggled to reform corrupt courts amid the territory's corrosive Reconstruction politics.
Slough was known to possess a volcanic temper and an easily wounded pride. These traits not only undermined a promising career but ultimately led to his death at the hands of an aggrieved political enemy who gunned him down in a Santa Fe saloon. Recounting Slough's timeless story of rise and fall during America's most tumultuous decades, historian Richard L. Miller brings to life this extraordinary figure.
Richard L. Miller is a frequent presenter to Civil War roundtables and other history groups. He is the past president of the Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable. Miller lives in Seattle, Washington.
"A wonderful biography."--Christopher R. Mortenson, The Journal of Southern History
"A unique and appreciated contribution to the growing library of American Civil War histories and biographies."--Midwest Book Review
"The author has crafted a well-researched and well-written biography of General Slough, a talented man whose 'personal shortcomings thwarted all of his dreams' of greatness. Readers interested in the Civil War or in the history of territorial Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico will find much to enjoy in its pages."--Roger D. Cunningham, Journal of American's Military Past
"In addition to documenting the life of a man with notable political, judicial, and military achievements to his record, Richard Miller's biography of John Slough is also framed by elements of a celebrated nineteenth-century American life narrative, wherein a wandering man of drive, talent, and ambition grasps opportunity and attains some measure of elevated stature and accomplishment. . . . This fascinating biography is highly recommended."--Andrew J. Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors
"This is a fascinating look at the regional economic and social history of the Midwest during the early nineteenth century. It truly is history writing at its best--an individual biography placed within the greater cultural context of geography, time, and significant social disorder."--Pete Warzel, 545: Historic Santa Fe Foundation's Look at Preservation & History
"John P. Slough was one of a handful of historical figures who not only lived through many key events of the Civil War era but also played a pivotal role in most of them. Richard Miller has provided an excellent first biography of this tragic character, whose flaws frustrated his great ambitions and ultimately led to his murder on the Southwest frontier."--Richard Melzer, coauthor of A History of New Mexico Since Statehood
"A thoughtful and compelling biography of the fascinating Slough. In this most impressive job of historical sleuthing, Miller will keep the reader turning the pages. His hard-driving narrative and fresh insights, as well as his keen eye and adroit pen, make for a fascinating read."--Jerry D. Thompson, author of A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia
"History has too long overlooked this unyielding, incorruptible, unlovable, and unrestrained man, who attracted enemies like iron filings to a magnet. Richard Miller's readable and well-researched biography allows us to see Slough in a new light, illuminating this enigmatic character and his tumultuous times."--Andrew E. Masich, author of Civil War in the Southwest Borderlands, 1861-1867
Part One. Ohio
Chapter One. Coming of Age
Chapter Two. "An Ardent and Zealous Democrat"
Chapter Three. Disgrace and Defeat
Part Two. Kansas Territory
Chapter Four. A Righteous Fight
Chapter Five. Fruitless Labor
Chapter Six. Two Elections
Part Three. Colorado Territory
Chapter Seven. Gilpin's Pet Lambs
Chapter Eight. "The Great Mogul of the Colorado First"
Chapter Nine. "We Have Saved this Territory"
Part Four. Virginia
Chapter Ten. The Defense of Harpers Ferry
Chapter Eleven. "Disorder and Vice Had Been the Rule"
Chapter Twelve. Enemies Within the Lines
Chapter Thirteen. "Why Then Am I Kept Here So Long?"
Part Five. New Mexico Territory
Chapter Fourteen. Chief Justice
Chapter Fifteen. Disintegration