I love books! That should come as no surprise, given all the reviews I’ve posted here and the fact that I write books! But there are some story plots that I enjoy more than others! Here are five of my favorites in no particular order!
The Bad Guy Speech
Okay, this is probably one of the lamest movie/book clichés out there, but it is one of my very favorites! I can’t stand not knowing exactly what the bad guy is planning to do. I want to know every little detail and know how the hero stopped it from happening/got things back to normal. I also count the bad guy spilling the beans after they are caught in this category (Think Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys). Now, I know this is totally unrealistic, but sorry, I love it 😉
The Miraculous Recovery
I know this one can be over used and can seem convenient in some literature, but this is something that doesn’t really bother me. It’s also plausible; people can pull through near-death experiences. Now, I don’t want to read a book that uses this setting a dozen times, but two or three is all right.
Villains I Can’t Relate To
*blinks* I. Don’t. Like. Bad. Guys. And I don’t want to be able to relate to their feelings or their mind-set or feel sorry for them at all. So if you have no intentions of making your bad guy in the least way likable, I will probably like your story. If you are going to try and make me like that Nazi, he’d better be clueless as to what’s going on, a secret agent for the allies or going to see the truth at some point in the story and become a good guy. *takes a deep breath* Sorry, I do not want a villain in a story to have redeemable qualities or anything at all that makes me feel sorry for them. If he’s the bad guy, make him the bad guy.
The Slightly Crazy Sidekick
Okay, not literally crazy, but the one who provides a good laugh line, or suggests they take their mind off their troubles and just enjoy the moment. The one who can have a good time, but be serious when they need to be. The one who compliments the main character in the best possible way. Those sidekicks are the best!
Rags to Riches
But only when done the right way. I love seeing a story where the person is poor and works their way up in life honestly, but even more so, I love seeing a person, ‘poor’ because they are unsaved, then through the story, come to know the Savior and become an heir of heaven. That is my favorite manifestation of Rags to Riches. But if you want a story with both, check out Isabella Alden’s Three People. It’s my 2nd Favorite Book ever! (The Holy War by John Bunyan is my 1st favorite 😉)
Have a Blessed Day!
10 Totally Random Facts About…Second Manassas! // A History Post +An Excerpt from Our Heritage to Save!
At last, I have returned to this beloved series after…4 months! Wow…that’s a long time…
Anyway, today I am doing a post on the Battle of Manassas Junction, Virginia! But Ryana Lynn, you might say, You’ve already done a post on Manassas Junction! And you would be quite right! Here’s a link to my first post! But today, we are looking at the SECOND battle that took place in that unfortunate area. Unfortunate because who really wants to have ONE battle fought in their backyard, let alone TWO? And hang around at the end of the post for a tiny excerpt from my book, Our Heritage to Save, to learn an additional fact about the Battle!
1. Lightning Strikes Twice. Yep, people often say it doesn’t but it has happened…anyway… Second Manassas (Or Second Bull Run, if you’re from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon 😉) was fought on the same ground as the first major battle of the War Between the States, almost a year later! And it lasted a little longer too, beginning on August 28th and ending on the 30th.
2. Stonewall was Here! But unlike the first battle, where his was one of the last on the field, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s was the first command to arrive at Second Manassas…3 days early!
3. Same song, second verse. After the second battle I suppose the federal army decided it would be a bad idea to fight here again; they lost both battles fought at Manassas Junction to the Confederate Army.
4. Immortalized in Song. There is a hilarious song, written and sung by southerners, that goes through the laundry list of men who Lincoln put in charge of his Grand Army of the Potomac. (There were so many, it’s not even funny!) The commander for the Manassas Campaign was Gen. John Pope. The song is written as if it’s union soldiers singing it, making it even funnier to the Southern population. Pope and the Battle of Manassas were featured in the lyrics like this:
Then said Lincoln unto Pope, “You can make the trip I hope,
I will save the Universal Yankee Nation,
To make sure of no defeat, I’ll leave no lines of retreat,
And I’ll issue a famous proclamation.”
But the same dreaded Jackson, This fellow laid his whacks,
And made him by compulsion a seceder.
And Pope took rapid flight from Manassas’ Second fight,
‘Twas his very last appearance as a leader.
But to be fair, the southern author was kind to Pope in the chorus…
Then pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves,
For Stonewall is a hard road to travel;
Pope did his very best but was evidently sold,
For Richmond is a hard road to travel, I am told!
5. A New Commander. The federals weren’t the only ones with a different commanding general when Second Manassas rolled around. Instead of Joseph Johnston commanding Southern forces, General Lee was in charge. But the results were the same: Southern Victory!
6. Old Stomping Grounds. Stonewall’s first mission upon arriving at Manassas Junction was to destroy the Union supply depot there. After fulfilling this duty, Stonewall set about making camp…near to the very place where he had first earned the nickname Stonewall (though he always insisted the name belonged to the brigade who had fought with him that day).
7. Don’t Count your Eggs Until They Are Laid. During the fight, U.S. General Pope informed Lincoln that the victory was the Union. NEVER announce victory before you actually have it…you’ll have to eat your words…
8. Strike while the Iron is Hot! Stonewall believed in action. He was not one to sit around and wait for the enemy to attack him. Second Manassas showed that very well. Pope knew he was in the area, due to a previous fight with another command. But his men got within a few hundred yards of Stonewall and didn’t even see him until Jackson’s artillery opened fire on them.
9. It’s not the Size that counts. Jackson and his troops were outnumbered two to one during the battle. In fact, multiple times, the federals broke their lines. But in spite of being outmanned, Jackson’s men always counterattacked and plugged the holes. And it paid off; Longstreet reinforced them, giving them desperately needed man power to ultimately carry the battle.
10. According to the Numbers… There are a lot of similarities between the two Battles of Manassas Junction. But the numbers are not part of that. Around 63,000 federal and 55,000 Confederates were engaged in the second battle, almost but not quite double their forces from the first battle. At First Manassas, 2,896 federals were listed as casualties (mostly injured); at Second Manassas, their numbers were 13,826. The Confederates listed 1,982 casualties (again mostly injured) at the first battle. Those numbers jumped to 8,353 at the second battle. (Numbers taken from A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham, ©2011 by the author, All Rights Reserved)
And now…for the excerpt…which happens to spotlight one of my favorite facts about this battle!
From Chapter 22: He Fixed It, Our Heritage to Save
“Believe it, Joe. We’re out of ammo!” The young Southern soldier’s face was white with anxiety. “We just used our last two rounds. What are we gonna do?”
“Rocks!” someone yelled. “Use the rocks!” The boys looked down at the rocks on the ground.
“Can’t hurt trying,” Joe shouted, picking up a sizable one. He hurled the rock as hard as he could. The others standing around followed suit.
Meanwhile, a Union soldier was firing away as fast as he could. Suddenly, a hard object struck his rifle barrel. “What was that?” Another “thing” came flying, this time striking him in the shoulder. “Stones? Ahh!” A hail of the rock ‘bullets’ came raining down on him.
“Now I have seen everything!” his friend commented, picking a pebble from his hand. “Here we are, fighting our own countrymen in the middle of nowhere, and being battered by rocks!”
“Yeah, and they say Longstreet and Lee reinforced Jackson last night. This is insanity!”
Not as long as most of my excerpts, but if I put anymore…well, you know, spoilers…
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have a Blessed Day!
Today, I’m back with another writing post! (Click here for post 1 and 2!) I thought it would be nice to do another themed around the War Between the States, so we’re going to look at a few more common myths (or facts) about the late war!
Claim #1: Coffee in the South wasn’t real Coffee
During the war, it was extremely difficult to come by because of the Federal blockade. Instead, Southerners were content to drink coffee substitutes made of sweet potatoes, corn and other root vegetables.
Claim #2: Drummers never saw action
Contrary to what many say, drummers were often on the field of battle, for that was their whole purpose, conveying orders that otherwise could not be heard over the den of the weaponry. But that wasn’t the only battle task allotted to them. They also carried(or dragged) soldiers off the field to the medical stations. They fetched water and held horses and ran messages. Without drummers, battles would not have turned out as they did.
Claim #3: Blacks only served in the Union Army
This is one of the things that bothers me the most about people calling the Confederacy racist. Southern blacks were serving the Confederacy long before the federals allowed them to fight. I’m shocked at the number of historians who chose to ignore and deny the fact that blacks willingly served. True, they were not given the official rank of soldier until 1865, but that does not justify ignoring their valuable and honorable service. They served as wagoners, cooks, barbers, and yes, soldiers, carrying flags, drums and rifles into battle.
Claim #4: Jefferson Davis “adopted” a black child
While in town one day, Varina Davis witnessed a black guardian beating a little black boy in his care. Varina, indignant over the scene, took the child into her custody and raised him in the Confederate White House with her children. His name was Jim Limber and he stayed with the Davis family until their arrest in 1865. He was then ripped away from his family, kicking and screaming. They never saw him again, though they heard people say that Varina was the one who beat him, not his former guardian. You can read more here.
Claim #5: Firing on Ft. Sumter was an act of War and started the War Between the States
Firing on Ft. Sumter was not an act of war, but a mission to protect the public from an enemy threat of violence. Col. Robert Anderson had moved his men from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter, which he felt was a stronger place of safety for his men. The people of South Carolina took this as a clear signal of violence, especially since the cannons of the fort were aimed directly at the city of Charleston. This was a direct attack on the safety of the civilians living there.
Action had to be taken.
Previously, the state had tried to buy the fort from the federal government, even though they knew it was rightfully their own. The government refused, the threat persisted and the fort was attacked on April 12th, 1861.
Another thing that shows this wasn’t an act of war is the fact that none of the soldiers who surrendered were treated as Prisoners of War. They were allowed to leave the state and return to their families.
War was not the objective here, but rather peace and safety.
So that wraps up today’s post! Have a blessed week!
I enjoy a good non-fiction read! Today’s is a fun one that I borrowed from the library. It encompasses my favorite time period, the War Between the States!
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War
H.W. Croker 111
(Not sure Why the Cover is different than the book I borrowed...)
This one would have been a five star for me, but because of some language used in the quotes and occasionally in the text, I dropped my rating a little bit.
Overall: This book is a wealth of information on the American War Between the States. It gives semi-in-depth biographies of important generals, north and south. It also takes you through the war, noting important battles, little known facts and what would have happened if the South had won!!!
What I Loved: This book didn’t read like a text book. It was far more interesting. My Favorite parts were about Stonewall Jackson, Gen. McClellan, Nathan B. Forrest, and A.P. Hill. Really neat side-notes; hardcore southern reading. Many good quotes and interesting information. I loved how they didn’t avoid or justify the topic of slavery, while pointing it out as a national sin and how it really had no pull on the southerners as a reason to fight.
Two particular bad words stick out in my mind that were used about half a dozen times. If this had been my book, I would have blotted them out. Another thing that I found personally irritating was the length of the chapters. I prefer short chapters, and these were usually between 20-28 pages long.
Recommended for ages 16 and up for understanding.
Have a Blessed Week!
Soldier Life...something that has fascinated people for generations. It’s also something we civilians always wonder about and never quite understand. But today, I’m sharing some facts for those researching about the War Between the States, focusing on the Sergeant. (Click here for Episode 7!)
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on soldier or the War Between the States. But I have researched these topics extensively. My goal here is to give readers, writers and researchers the information I wish I had been able to find all in one place. Pulling from books and webpages takes time! To whoever finds this post helpful, this was written with you in mind!
Okay, so first, there are two different types of Sergeants. There are regular sergeants (the ranking one is called the First Sergeant) and the Sergeant Major, who is the top Non-Commission Officer (NCO; in other words, a guy who is in charge whom you do not salute.)
The duties of a regular sergeant are…
Most of the information I gathered was for the First Sergeant and the Sergeant Major, so I’ll expand a little on what they did to keep their part of the army running (the jobs were the same in the North and the South).
The First Sergeant was selected by the captain of the company from among the other sergeants. Then the commanding officer of the regiment would make his position official. Likewise, his commission could be revoked by the commanding officer. He is the main guy supervising the entire company (100 men!). The Captain gives him his orders and he sees that they are carried out by himself and the other sergeants. Think of him as the foreman on a worksite.
The First Sergeant is the one who keeps the rosters, lists of the men serving in his company, noting who is where during the day and night. He was expected to memorize the names in alphabetical order, so that he could call the roll at any hour. I’m sure once campaigning began, that got confusing, with men being killed, captured and reported missing. Not only did he need to know everyone’s name, but he also needed to know what they looked and sounded like and where they were supposed to be in the camp line up. This is because soldiers would sometimes answer for their buddies who were away from drill without permission.
When Roll Call is made, the First Sergeant lists the absentees to the officer overseeing the roll call. All the other NCO’s are responsible to him, making sure that their work is done correctly and that the paperwork is filed. He is also allowed to arrest soldiers and NCO’s, while reporting any action like this to the Captain, along with the details of the situation. He is also the one who oversees the guard details. (See my post on Corporals for more details)
Just as the Corporal of the Guard is the most important job for a corporal, the most important duty for a first sergeant is issuing and keeping records of supplies: weapons and ammunition, uniforms, camp supplies, etc. He also has to keep record of who received what and when, and if anything is misplaced, he has to find out if it was stolen, sold or if it was an innocent mistake. He was also responsible for issuing rations to the men, and overseeing the company funds.
The sergeant is responsible for the actions of the company, to set a good example for him. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose a man with a good temper and a strong sense of justice. He’s not supposed to be close friends with the men under him, but he should be the kind they can come to with anything on their minds without fear of talking out of turn. He’s the buffer between the men and the officers.
Now, the Sergeant Major, as I said, is the ranking NCO of the regiment. Here is one of the differences between the first sergeant and the sergeant major: one is regimental, the other is company oriented. The sergeant major is appointed by the regimental commander and there is one sergeant major in every regiment. (There are ten First Sergeants in a regiment, because there are ten companies.)
The Sergeant Major pretty much does what a First Sergeant does, only on a larger scale. His roster is of the NCOs (Sergeants and corporals) and he must also keep the time in camp. That means waking up the musicians in time to sound Reveille at the proper hour in the morning.
The First Sergeant turns the morning reports in to the Sergeant Major, who in turn gives them back to the sergeant, along with the orders for the day. He instructs them in details that will be expected of them the next day and copies the orders into the “Company Order-Book.”
He will also attend the Mounting of the Guard, with the First Sergeants reporting to him that everything is in order. He is the NCO all the lower-ranking NCOs look up to, so it is expected for him to act as the model soldier in the way he dresses and carries himself. He should be punctual and disciplined. When promotions come along, if he has carried out his duties correctly, he will be the first NCO to get an officer’s commission. Then, a first sergeant will take his place.
That’s all I have for today. Have a blessed week!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.