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!
Hello and happy Friday everyone! I have another blog post for you today (Third one this year!) and it’s going to be so much fun! A Book List! 📚 If you are like me, you are a book nut, specifically when it comes to historical fiction. Well, today, I’m stepping into the Non-Fiction world and bringing you some of my favorite books about two famous American Heroes, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson! 😍 In addition to my favorites, I will be sharing some books that are on my TBR! 📖
But why these two for my very first book list?
Well, January happens to be the birth month of these amazing Christian men! General Lee was born on January 19th, 1807. Stonewall was born January 21st, 1824. So, it was only fitting to do this post in their honor. 🎈🎁 *Nods at my logic*
Now. Let’s get into the Book List!
Robert E. Lee
You have no idea how many books I own with “Robert E. Lee” as the title! Even though Stonewall is my favorite of the two, I have far more books about General Lee. Here are my favorites…
Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee by Robert E. Lee Jr. (More here!)
Oh, people, read this book!!!!!! It is my very favorite book about Robert E. Lee and I reference it for my books. Who better to write about this great man than his son? Rob does an excellent job chronicling his father’s life, from his very first memory of the general, to Robert E. Lee’s last days. The honor he bestows on his father and his attention to detail is amazing! And I must admit, I really fell in love with his writing style. It felt as if I were right there, riding through the war with Robert E. Lee. And the chapter where Rob takes a break from his father’s story to tell about himself, and the capture of his older brother…no words. It was so good!
Robert E. Lee by Noah Andre Trudeau
This is the first biography, and probably the first history book outside of textbooks, that I ever read and it is amazing! Such an up close and personal look at Gen. Lee and a little of his family as well. Not just the Civil War History of him either; this book goes back before that.
Boy of Old Virginia: Robert E. Lee by Hellen A. Monsell
This is a book written for school Children years ago. I dug up this copy at Goodwill and almost didn’t buy it! Then, my dad found it and brought it back to my attention. I took that as my cue that I needed to buy this book and I’m so glad I did! It’s a nice look at Lee’s childhood and what it was like growing up in the Lee household. It doesn’t touch on his war record, which was a unique twist. Highly recommend it. My younger brother loved it!
Robert E. Lee by Lee Roddy
This is a middle-grade book, but again, a lovely overview of the life of Robert E. Lee. Highly recommend it for an easy read, if you aren’t super into biographies. Great for Homeschool curriculum too!
These are not all of my books on Robert E. Lee, but you get the idea 😉 I can actually think of two more right of the top of my head!
Oh, my favorite Hero ever! I am working on building my Stonewall library, but for now, here are the books I’ve read…
Beloved Bride by Bill Potter (Read my review here!)
This book is amazing! I think every young person should read it, male and female! Married couples, history buffs, people waiting for the right one, just go read it! Fun Fact: I used this book as research for The Rivers of Sorrow! Read Beloved Bride, and you will know which story I pulled for my book!
Stonewall Jackson by Charles Ludwig
This is another middle-grade book and the best biography I’ve read on Stonewall thus far! It’s the only one I’ve read…anywho, this book is so good! Like Robert E. Lee by Lee Roddy, it’s perfect for Homeschool and is an amazing introduction to Stonewall Jackson
Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson
Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones
J. William Jones was Robert E. Lee’s personal chaplain. A Baptist preacher, Jones chronicled the revivals through the war that broke out in the Confederate camps. While it mainly focuses on Gen. Lee, Jackson appears more than once in this history! I highly recommend it for High School students, history buffs and Civil War enthusiasts!
Warriors of Honor by New Liberty Videos
This is a documentary that chronicles the Christian faith of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. If you love these generals, your collection is not complete without this DVD! I saw it several years ago at a Night Watch Service (only half though!) and I purchased my copy at Ft. Macon on Confederate Memorial Day. (Yes, that is a real holiday! May 10th, mark your calendar.)
My American Heroes TBR (To Be Read) List
Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson by Robert Lewis Dabney
Dabney was a personal friend of Jackson and a member of his personal staff, the perfect person to write the official biography of one of America’s finest heroes. I got this as a prize for giving a suggestion to a new website. Cannot wait to read this!
Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne
Civil War enthusiasts will be shocked that I haven’t read this book yet 😉 Published in 2014, this is supposed to be THE book about Stonewall, so I cannot wait to dive in! I received this as a gift from one of my readers who didn’t need their copy anymore! Thank you so much!
Stonewall: A Novel by John J. Dwyer
This is a borrowed book from my grandpa and I have been wanting to read this book for so long! I’m not sure how I’ll like it since it’s a novel about a historical figure and I don’t like it when people take too much liberty with historical figures…hopefully, it’s just recreating conversations or something.
Robert E. Lee: A Novel by John J. Dwyer
Like Stonewall, this is another borrowed book form grandpa. Again, not sure how I’ll end up enjoying this one, but I do highly anticipate it!
The Shaara Civil War Trilogy by Jeff and Michael Shaara
This includes Gods and Generals, Killer Angels and The Last Full Measure. I’ve been meaning to read this books for a long time, but it wasn’t until this year that I picked up Gods and Generals. I have no idea what the title has to do with anything, to be honest. But, aside from some words I’ve had to mark out, the book is very interesting and lines up with what I’ve read about these famous figures, or makes me want to research these people more (looking at you, Gen. Hancock!). I really hope I enjoy these. G&G is deeper, so I read it in spurts. Someday, hopefully, it will end up in a wrap-up!
So, that’s all I have for you today! Hope you enjoyed my very first book list! Something to think about: What are your favorite historical (fiction or non-fiction) books? List them and share them with a friend! There are never enough book recommendations!
Until Next Time,
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Happy Friday, everyone! I’m back from the Southwide Independent Baptist Fellowship and let me tell you, it was amazing! God is so good, and the services were so encouraging. Plus, we were able to give out information about FBN and sell some of my books!
Today I am returning to my series on Soldier Life. In case your new, the Soldier Life series (click here for last post) is a series currently dealing with the American War Between the States. The purpose of this series is to help out fellow writers and researchers, helping them avoid the hunt and peck method for information that I experienced 😊 I do occasionally recommend some books on the topics I cover, but I generally try to give basic info on the topic, along with some not so well know information. Today, we’re talking about Chaplains.
What is a Chaplain? A chaplain is a preacher, for the army 😉 Their job was to minister to the soldiers the same way a pastor would. Let’s check out some of those jobs.
Preaching. Obviously as a man of God, it was the job of the Chaplain to preach the word of God to the soldiers. Many units canceled unnecessary duties on Sundays to support the church services. In the Confederate Army starting in 1862, revival broke out in camp. With this came daily services in many places and an increased soulwinning effort. This lasted until the war ended and was the last great revival our Nation has seen.
Counseling. During war, many men take time to look at their lives, seeing things that need to change. The chaplain was often the one they turned to with spiritual questions.
Ministering to the wounded and dying. We all know that scene in a film were the preacher is called in to pray with the dying man, usually using the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 to comfort. That’s not far from the truth. While they may not have only used those portions of scripture, the scene was seen frequently during the war. Also, Chaplains hovered near the surgery tents to pray with the men before losing a limb or undergoing operations.
Singing. There were no song leaders hired in the army😆 While some of the men in camp could serve in this capacity, it often fell to the chaplain to lead the singing in camp services.
The Shoulder to Lean on. While a comrade in arms, a family member or even the doctor often filled this role, the chaplain was more times than not the man to turn to when you were struggling mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
Librarian. Not literally, but if you needed something to read, find your chaplain 😉 They collected donations from citizens to provide reading material for the troops: Books, Bibles, Newspapers, Tracts, whatever you could think of.
A Few Books You Should Check Out:
Christ in the Camp by J. William Jones (Robert E. Lee’s personal Chaplain). This book focuses on the Religion in the army, not on the causes of the war, though it briefly touches on this. No matter who you think was right in the War Between the States, you should read this book!
Chaplains in Gray by Charles Pitt. Another good one! This book is shorter than the first book, but every bit as informative!
Hope this helps you in your pursuit of knowledge 😊
Have a Blessed Day!
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Hello everyone! I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was in school, I loved starting school. As a homeschooler, member of a large family, and serving in our family ministry, each day was an adventure! Would I be doing school in my room or the kitchen table, or would we be balancing our books on our laps as we drove out of town for a meeting? Or would today be an out of book school day, taking a field trip to Ft. Macon, the Zoo or volunteering at a special event at a church?
Something I enjoyed doing when we were traveling was to double up. To those who don’t know what that means, doubling up is simply doing two or more days’ worth of school in one day. Since we have less distractions learning at home than in a class room, we were able to finish our school earlier in the day, which allowed us the time to double up. The reason I would double up was because…I am a lover of books and never go on trips without bringing a stack along. While I do write up the road as well, reading is still a favorite pastime on hours’ long trips. With the school year upon us, I thought it would be fun to give you a few musts for your reading list 😉 I hope you enjoy!
1. Autumn with the Moodys and Autumn Days with the Moodys by Sarah Maxwell
Yes, I will count this as one, since they are book in the same series 😊 Part of a 10-book set (plus 2 amazing Christmas novellas!) book #2 and #6 give readers a nice peek into the lives of a homeschooled family during the beginning of the school season. Add in the wonders of Autumn, my favorite season, and you have a pleasant read, for any time of year, really. I recommend the whole series! Please note that this is a story of one family’s homeschooling experience. Every family is different, and every method doesn’t work for every family. But Ms. Maxwell paints a beautiful picture of a family perusing home education. Click here for more information!
2. Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Jean Fritz
Ah…my favorite founding father and protector of religious Liberty! Who can forget his marvelous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!” speech? He was truly a Patriot to be admired…but what else is there to know about him? This book answers that questions, sharing his highs and lows, his greatest moments and a few things that remind us that we are all human and make mistakes. Regardless of age, this book is a must read! No school reading list should be complete without a book about our Nation’s founding! Pick up this one today! Click here for more information!
3. The Willow Valley Kids Book #1: The Treasure Hunt by Jean Pennington
Any Patch the Pirate fans out there? How about Patch the Pirate Club members? What does this have to do with this book? Mrs. Pennington for years now has dedicated hours of work, creating material for the Patch club literature. And as of the last few years, she has started righting these amazing series of children’s mysteries. Remember how I told you we got to see a Patch the Pirate play last month? Well, we took a chance and purchased this book and the next two in the series. We were a little nervous…but we needn’t have been. These stories are so sweet, mysterious and filled with biblical lessons for the children. These are probably supposed to be for 8-12-year-olds. Ignore that! I loved them, and I’m an adult! My mom just read this book out loud to the family and we all loved it!
This first book is set on the first day of school and continues through the entire school year! It all starts with five kids hearing about Redcoat treasure buried in the valley where they live. Can they do what no one has been able to do in over 300 years? What is at stake if they can’t find the treasure? Is it even still there? The clock is ticking…and that’s all I’m going to tell you 😊 Click here for more information!
4. A Dozen of Them by Isabella Alden
If you’ve never read Mrs. Alden, you must start today! She’s that good! This book is part of her darling Golden Text Series. Each chapter begins with four or five scriptures. One of the scriptures will be used in the story. Our family likes to assign a verse to each person and wait to see who got the “Chosen Verse”. These stories encourage Bible memory, Character building and scriptural application. This particular story is about a young man named Joseph and how the verses that he selected, one for every month, changed his life. Click here for more information! *Note, this link will show you a three book set. We recommend all three!
5. Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee by Robert Edward Lee Jr.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I really enjoy the 1860s-time period. The War Between the States has always fascinated me, and I know write books on that topic. I read this book last year, a gift from my uncle (who is an Air Force and Police Force Veteran! Love you, Uncle Paul!). He had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. Who better to write a book about Gen. Lee, beloved to the South and the North alike, than his own son? This book is recommended for older readers, simply because it’s written on a higher reading level. Oh. Please, no matter where you are from, no matter what side of the war you side with, please, pick up a copy of this book. It will get you acquainted with this dear, Christian man on a personal level. The author even gives us a peek into his own life in one chapter, which is quite entertaining to say the least! Click here for more information!
So, these are my Back to School Recommendations! Hope you enjoy these books as much as I have! Something to think about. What are you favorite Autumn reads? Share your reading list with others and encourage them to try out a book they’ve never read. Speaking as an avid book worm, you can never have too many book recommendations!
Have a blessed day and keep reading!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.