Hello and welcome back for my newest book related post. But …I’m cheating. 😉 I have only one actual research book to share today. But don’t despair! I’m going to include a few fiction titles to this list to round out the end of this series (for now anyway 😉). So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Manhunt: The Twelve Day Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (Don’t currently have my book with me, it’s being loaned out, it’s that good!)
This book! It’s so good! Okay, so that sounds terrible, seeing as how this is about someone dying… Anyway, this is the best book I’ve read about the Lincoln assassination. It’s non-fiction written like a novel! (I think you call that narrative non-fiction…?) Anyway, Mr. Swanson spins an excellent narrative. At times there are bits of history that we just don’t know what happened. I think there were (I think) three days of the Manhunt when we don’t know what John Wilkes Booth was up to. What did Mr. Swanson do? He used it as a springboard for some background story on the Booth family! It was brilliant! Because of some of the details, I would recommend either editing it first or waiting until the reader is at least 16, depending on their maturity level. It’s very well researched! I’ve read it…3 times? And I’m going to be reading it again when I get it back, to refresh myself for the writing of my 5th book on the War Between the States! (Title is still under wraps!)
2. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
Okay…I did a whole post on this book, so I won’t reiterate here, but people! You need to read this book! It too is Narrative non-fiction, but not really a research book. It’s about Wade Hampton’s elite Cavalry unit and I just adore this book. This is another one I’ve read two or three times and hope to read again soon! Recommended for all ages!
3. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Okay, so this one will need editing. But, it is worth it. It’s language, not content. But this book I learned a lot from. It shows the struggle of duty and fear for a young soldier and how he overcomes what he feels is cowardice. I personally just wanted to tell him everything would be okay and your not a coward, you’re just young and scared. Even though he didn’t subscribe to my personal view of the War Between the States, Henry taught me a lot. It made me understand some of my own characters a little better.
4. Iron Thunder by Avi
This was my very first Avi book! It was written in First Person Point of View (POV) so that was so neat. The main character is Tom Carroll and his service aboard the USS Monitor. (There actually was a Tom Carroll aboard, but they make it clear, this is a different person ) While some of the talk about the south was offensive to me, I found it very intriguing to learn about the Iron Clads of the War Between the States. I would love to find a book like this about the CSS Virginia (which this book calls the Merrimac, which drives me nuts!) It was very informative and worth reading. Minimal editing needed, recommended for ages 8 and up!
So that pretty much wraps this series up for now! If I read anymore for my The Battle for Heritage Series research, I will let you know!
Hello everyone! A few months ago, I did a post called Fact or Fiction//Which is More Important? Today, I want to turn this into an official Writing Series called Fact or Fiction? It will cover writing myths and history myths. Today, I’m going to tackle five common misconceptions about The War Between the States that I see popping up in most fiction books on the topic. Hope you enjoy!
Myth #1: All Southerners owned slaves/supported slavery.
This is not true and it makes me want to laugh every time I see this pop up. While a book may not come right out and say this, it’s insinuated in popular fiction that all Southerners own slavery. My ancestors are proof this is untrue. In fact, studies show that only about 25% of the Southern population in 1860 owned slaves. (For more statistics on this study, read The South Was Right! and Lincoln Unmasked)
And all southerners did not support slavery, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are prime examples of Southerners who hated the institution. And I’d also like to point out that the Underground Railroad couldn’t have existed without Southern abolitionists. Let’s say you are helping a slave form Florida escape to Canada. You cannot magically jump over the slave holding states (which included Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Ohio, to name a few). You must come through several of these states to get to Canada. You must have food and shelter to make a trip (on foot or hiding in a wagon), and it’s dangerous. There is no way they could have gotten to Canada without help. North Carolina was one of the most active states in the Underground Railroad. So it is ludicrous to assume all southerners were at least supportive of slavery.
Myth #2: Southern soldiers, on average, could not read.
While both the Union and Confederate States had a large population of illiterate people, it’s silly to write a story where none of the Confederates know how to read. It’s insulting. If I’m not mistaken, The South Was Right! covers this claim as well. I read one study that showed that most Southern soldiers could read to some extent. Christ in the Camp makes this fact clear in the large amounts of tracts, pamphlets, books and Bibles they gave to eager southern soldiers. So, while it’s fine to have a grown soldier here and there who can’t read, or one who can’t read well, it’s way over used. Drummers are another matter, as there were a lot of street kids or orphans who had never been to school filling those spots.
Myth #3: The South fought to preserve slavery.
I am fighting not to roll my eyes at this one. It is in almost every book you read about the War Between the States and it is the biggest fallacy of them all. I’ll give you the nut shell of why the South fought, but if you want to read more on this topic, see these posts (Here, here, here and here.) The south would not have fought to preserve slavery. That would have been ridiculous. No woman in her right mind would send her man to war just so she could force another person to work for her. (Okay, so the women didn't literally send their men off to war, but you know what I mean, lol!) That’s insane. The reason the South fought the War Between the States is because their states’ rights were being taken away from them. The government passed taxes that hurt the south to aide the north. I’m not being biased, I’m stating facts. The government had enlarged it’s self past it’s Constitutional boundaries and had made it quite clear that it didn’t care who they had to step on to grab more power…sound familiar? Seems like there was a man named Kind George III who had that same ambition. I don’t care what side you take on the war in your novel. But I do care if it’s historically inaccurate. Even if you choose to ignore these facts, don’t have your southern antagonist citing slavery as his reason to fight. Read what the southern soldiers said they were fighting for. Slavery will not be one of their reasons.
Myth #4: The Emancipation Proclamation freed the Slaves.
Another common misconception, and it mostly stems from the fact that most people have never actually read the proclamation. I strongly encourage you to read it and not just take someone else’s word for it, no matter what angle they take on it, myself included. But basically, the EP was written to keep England and France, who had already outlawed slavery in their countries, from aiding the Confederacy and recognizing us as a nation. In the latter end, they succeeded, but the British and French did help us monetarily and materially, though not to the capacity they would have if not for the EP. The EP states that all slaves held in the seceded states are free, except those who lived in Union held territory. The hypocrisy here is that those are the only slaves he had the power to free, since they were in territory he had conquered. So where is their right to freedom from the “Champion of Abolition?” The shocking truth is that he didn’t care about the ones he could actually help; he just wanted to look good to Europe. He had no jurisdiction over the seceded states as a whole, since they were a separate country, so his proclamation did absolutely nothing. Also, he said, if the states would rejoin the Union by January 1st of 1863, they could keep their slaves. If the war was over slavery, every single state would have jumped at the chance to be back in their beloved former country. But not one took him up on the offer, proving not only that the South was not fighting to keep their slaves, but also that the Union was not fighting to free them.
Myth #5: All the Southern women wore hoop skirts.
I had to slip a fun one in here! 😉 So, yeah, this one’s not true either! Hoop skirts were very impractical for daily life in the south. They are bulky and let’s be honest, you can’t tend your garden like that, lol! The majority of southern woman were middle class and did the cooking, cleaning, gardening and often times helped in the fields as well. If she owned a hoop skirt, she would have worn it to church, weddings and socials. If I had lived during this time, I probably wouldn’t have even owned one. In my books, my main girl character Dixie is from a middle-class cotton plantation family. And she doesn’t own a hoop skirt. Why? Because she lives in the country. There is no where for her to wear one too. In fact, when up in Philadelphia for Christmas, she must borrow one from her cousins for a social. This wasn’t uncommon. Not everyone lived in Raleigh, Richmond and Atlanta. That’s what most people think of when they imagine life in the Antebellum South. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one, lol!
So that’s it for this first post on Fact or Fiction! I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a blessed day!
I can hardly believe it’s time for Part 3 of this series! (Click here for part 1 and part 2!) I’m so excited to share the books that helped me so much with my Battle for Heritage Series! If I can help even one author or History Buff in their search for answers, it will be worth it! So, without further ado, let’s jump in!
1.Will at the Battle of Gettysburg by Laurie Calkhoven ©2011 by the author, Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Okay, so this isn’t a history. In fact, it is a children’s middle-grade fiction novel. But, hear me out 😉 This story is told in the perspective of Will, a 12-year-old Gettysburg native. Though this book is strongly biased and claims the South fought to keep their slaves, which is false, this book is eye-opening as to what civilians went through during the fighting, what it was like for a little boy to see war, and the confusing feeling of pity for the enemy. And of course Abel is my favorite character, a young Confederate, who, surprisingly given the stance of the author, educates Will on why the South is actually fighting. This is well worth reading. I made minor edits to my copy for historical inaccuracies (regarding the cause of the war) and a few minor swear words. Please proof it before handing it to a child under 10.
2.Gettysburg: The Confederate High Tide by Time Life Books ©1985 (again, my copy isn’t down, so I’m not sure of the specifics.)
This book for the most part focuses on the facts of the battle rather than the cause of the war, so it’s a pretty safe read. Very informative and a recommended read. There are a few words to mark out, due to historical quotes. In general, this is a good book on the history of the Battle of Gettysburg. Recommended for ages 16+ for understanding.
3.To Die in Chicago by George Levy ©1999 by the author. Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 1999, Second Printing
This is not a book for Children. I highly recommend an adult read this book first if you plan to hand it over to someone younger than 16. Ever wondered what it could be like if America had concentration camps? Welcome to Camp Douglas. If anyone ever tries to tell you how terrible Andersonville in Georgia was (which was caused by tight spaces and national food shortages, not to mention the Union’s halt of prisoner exchange), remind them of Camp Douglas. Some of the worst War Crimes committed by the Union happened here in the systematic starvation, torture and degradation of Southern POWs. Recently, people have been talking about the confinement of Japanese Americans during WWII, referring to the camps as concentration camps. While there is no question that everything wasn’t up to scratch, it is disrespectful to Holocaust survivors and Confederate POWs to compare their comparative paradise with the genocide committed by the Nazis and Union soldiers. I’m sure either group would have gladly switched places. I am by no means trying to down play any wrong that may have been committed against our country’s citizens. I’m just saying that there are some unfair historical cover ups going on. I personally think this book should be read by 18+, given the sensitive subject matter.
4.Reccolections and Letters of Robert E. Lee compiled by Capt. Robert E. Lee Jr., C.S.A. (public domain) First published 1904. Mine is a Dover 2007 edition.
I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post, so I won’t spend too much time on it here, but this book is so good! Who better to write a book about the South’s beloved Marse Robert than himself and his son? A mixture of commentary from Rob and letters, journals and orders from Gen. Lee make this a must for every student of War Between the States History! Recommended for 14+ for understanding.
5.Civil War Period Cookery compiled by Robert W. Pelton ©2003 by the author. Infinity publishing, 2012 edition
This book is chock full of fun information about the food and drinks of days gone by. (Warning: some recipes call for alcoholic beverages, which I DO NOT condone. These are removed from my recipes.) Ever wondered what the bread of choice was from Stonewall’s army? How about the chicken and gravy Gen. Mosby grew up on? How about Clara Barton’s Mint Lemonade? Southerners and Northerners will be delighted by the storehouse of insider information about these famous family recipes and biographical sketches about the cooks and the eaters! I love this book and hope to cook from it soon. Though I probably will steer clear of U.S. Grant’s family recipe for laxative bread…
Well, that’s all for now! Thank you so much for stopping by today!
Hey there and welcome back to another Writer post! This time it’s all about Chapter Names. I may have mentioned this before, but one of my pet peeves is a book without Chapter titles! Don’t get me wrong, I still read books without them, but if you want to make me super happy 😉, TITLE YOUR CHAPTERS! But, I understand, this isn’t always easy. So today, I’m taking my book, The Land of Cotton and explaining how I came up with the titles for the chapters. (Ones marked Original are the titles I came up with in my first draft!) I hope this is helpful!
1.) “How’d This All Get Started?”- Michael asks this question, and it is the focus of the chapter, explaining the Southern Cause in simple terms. This is the very first title I ever came up with for this book. Old Faithful!
2.) The Move- Again, this is what the chapter focused around, a family moving to a new location.
3.) Agree to Disagree- This is a common enough phrase and fits perfectly with the story of this chapter. Sometimes, you’re just not going to agree with people, but try to do it peacefully. An Original Title.
4.) God Has a Plan- This was taken from a conversation in the chapter. Even when it doesn’t make sense, God has a plan for your life!
5.) Lighting the Fire- Before the War Between the States, people that were in agreement with secession and spoke out in its favor were labeled “Fire Eaters.” This fact and the fact that the desire to serve one's country is referred to as the Fire of Patriotism provided the perfect title.
6.) Confederate and Lady- Read the book, and you’ll understand 😉
7.) Something Worth Fighting For- Sometimes it takes time for a Cause’s righteousness to be realized by those it affects. That’s what this chapter explains.
8.) A Righteous Cause- Ditto 😉
9.) The First Good-Bye- That one is always the hardest ☹ I think the title is self-explanatory.
10.) The Awakening- This one was a revised title, originally called “The Bull Runners.” Without spoiling it for those who haven’t read that far, in every soldier’s life there is a time when he realizes War isn’t all glory…it isn’t a game; it’s for real.
11.) Reality of War- Ditto!
12.) “It Never Gets Easier”- Phrase taken from the story.
13.) Eternity- Serious topic common to war. Original Title!
14.) Surprised- Sometimes stating a simple fact is the best way to title a chapter…😉 or maybe that’s laziness…you decide.
15.) More Than One Way To Serve- Without giving you a spoiler, there were many ways to serve your country during war, not just fighting. This chapter covers that.
16.) Wrapping Up- A wound, a part of the story or both? This title came to me while trying to revamp some lousy titles, including “Moving On.”
17.) Home At Last- Self-explanatory.
18.) Prayer Works- This is an original. I liked the simplicity of this very true statement.
19.) Hide ‘n Seek and Nicodemus- This mixes two events in the story, with both a fun and serious edge.
20.) A Land of Cotton…and More Cotton- A spin off the title, theme song and the truth of the harvest season. We’re in the South, Y’all! Original title.
21.) Letters- Sometimes I’m too tired to think of something fresh. Old faithful’s are fine 😉
22.) Sharp Encounter- Read the Chapter, and it’ll make sense 😉 I drew the title from the story.
23.) Race Against Time- Another Original. Sometimes you are literally racing against the clock. It fit so well with the story, I couldn’t pass it up!
24.) That Time of Year- Christmas…This title just came to me one day after thinking of the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
25.) Christmas Apart- No one likes being away from loved ones at Christmas. This title expresses the mood for this chapter, a mix of hope and despair.
If this isn’t enough inspiration…refer back to my post on Book Titles…the concept is the same 😉
Have a blessed week!
Hello and welcome back to another post here at Life of Heritage Corner! I’m here with another post in my War Between the States Soldier Life series, this time focusing on the Corporal! This series is non-biased, so no matter what you believe about the war, you can learn something here!
Now before we get started, I shall give you my disclaimer: I am not an expert. These posts are merely the results of my personal research for my books, The Battle for Heritage Series. I try to write posts in this series that I would love to have read when I was searching books and websites for this information! So, if you have been looking for a post of this nature for your research, you’re welcome 😉 (Click here for episode 6: The Private or go to my Looking for Something? page for a full list of posts in this series.)
The corporal’s duties are pretty basic for the most part. They are in charge of the private soldiers. They oversee small details of camp life, following the orders of the sergeant. And, if the sergeant is gone, well, guess who’s in charge, boys? Often, corporals are disliked by the men because they can be overzealous to do a good job and stay on the sergeant’s good side. Plus, with their knowledge of the sergeant’s duties, they can come across as know-it-alls.
A Corporal is a non-commissioned officer. Which simply means, he’s in charge, you obey him. Period. But—you do not salute him, and you do not call him sir. He is not usually allowed to confine a soldier to his quarters or to the guard house, though. Unless someone has given him permission to do so.
I will cut them some slack, though…the higher-ranking men could be hard on them. They were expected to be the epitome of neatness and cleanliness in the way they dressed and cared for their equipment, an example for the private to follow. And a corporal could get in more trouble if he didn’t hold up to that standard. With position comes stiffer consequences. If a higher-ranking soldier called for the men to fall in, the corporal should be the first to arrive. And their quarters should always be in top notch condition.
They had to be able to instruct recruits in basic military actions and tactics. And if you’re going out into the field, guess who you get your rations from? Better stay on his good side!
And the pinnacle of his job…the Corporal of the Guard. We’ll get into the particulars of this in a minute, but not only did he have to know how to perform this duty, but he also had to be able to instruct others in carrying it out…flawlessly.
The Corporal of the Guard is the changing out of the sentries (to the best of my understanding). Three corporals are assigned to three groups of men, called reliefs. Each corporal marches their relief to their post for guard duty, changes them out with the last group of guards, then marches the old group back to camp. He is responsible for keeping up with the names of the men and that they are present and accounted for at their posts and when their shift ends. There’s a whole list of things the soldiers need to say and do as the exchange is taking place, but I’ll spare you the details.
After posting the sentries, the corporal must revisit the posts by daylight to make sure they understand their day-orders. This is to be repeated at night, as the orders are different. The corporal is held responsible by the officer of the day to make sure that the sentries are instructed correctly.
And when on guard duty, the corporal must keep in mind that they are only to take orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day and the officers and non-commissioned officers of the guard…which might not be his usual commanders. Now, try to keep that all straight when in a high-stress position!
They also have the pleasure of rounding up soldiers who have gone AWOL. Fun stuff!
Corporals were also, typically, in charge of fatigue duty. This is basically any job a soldier could be required to do where his weapon is not needed. For example, road work, building field placements (barriers and trenches) rifle pits, barricades (making or removing), foraging for food, etc.
And this is just for the Infantry Corporal! Forgive me, I’ll let you look up the rules for Cavalry and Artillery Corporals for yourself. 😉
So, there you have it, the basic overview of a Corporal’s duties in the 1860s! Next time you read a book with an obnoxious corporal, remember this post and try to grant him some grace. He’s got a tough life, lol!
Until Next Time,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.