Here is another five-star review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Linda Thompson, for your positive review!
Here is another five-star review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Linda Thompson, for your positive review!
I absolutely love this story. It seems the tide against everything Confederate is finally starting to wane, and thankfully so. Those who think they are offended by the Southern Cross, Confederate monuments, streets and schools named after Confederate officers, etc. are nothing less than ignorant, in my opinion, and need to learn their history.
Most people wouldn’t think of Perryville, Kentucky as being one of the most haunted places in the country. But on October 8, 1862, a terrible tragedy took place there that forever left an imprint on the land. Union and Confederate troops clashed for several hours, leaving approximately 7,600 young soldiers either, wounded, dead, or missing. The nearby Chaplin River ran red with blood from the fallen. The battle decided the fate of the state, and although the battle was a tactical victory for the Confederates, the Union army received enough reinforcements to force Confederate General Braxton Bragg back into Tennessee. His army would never again enter Kentucky. Because of this, the Federals had the opportunity to properly bury their dead. The Confederates, however, were unceremoniously thrown into mass graves and haphazardly left in unmarked plots on the battlefield.
It isn’t surprising, then, that countless visitors to the battlefield have witnesses ghostly figures wandering the grassy fields, sometimes in broad daylight. Many reported seeing full-bodied apparitions marching across the fields, and have heard the deep percussion of heavy artillery and cannon fire echoing across the rolling hills. Disembodied voices have been captured on audio, responding to questions with intelligent responses that were indicative of 1862.
Not only is the battlefield haunted, but so is the nearby Dye House, which served as a makeshift hospital after the battle. The structure witnessed hundreds of emergency surgeries, amputations, and painful, gruesome deaths. So much blood was spilled on the floors that, to this day, has been impossible to remove. People have heard footsteps descend the stairs, and doors open and close by themselves. Recordings have been made where ghostly voices claim to be Civil War doctors.
Joni House, the park’s preservation and program coordinator, has also witnessed strange occurrences. “I’m in my office and I hear people talking to me and nobody else is in the building. Or I come in here and see things that have happened in the museum. There’s no real explanation for why a mannequin’s head has been pulled off and is now in the middle of the floor.”
(The Perryville Battlefield was one of the Civil War Trust’s 10 most endangered battlefields in 2008.)
Stay tuned: on Halloween – It isn’t a battlefield but it’s still very scary.
Take Em Down NOLA (TEDN), a multiracial coalition working to remove Confederate statues in New Orleans, teamed up with several lawyers and filed an amicus brief last Monday, January 11.The brief, filed in federal court, is in retaliation to a lawsuit filed by an opposing group that includes the Monumental Task Committee, Louisiana Landmarks Society, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Inc., Beauregard Camp No. 30, Inc., and the local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The group filed a lawsuit on December 17, 2015, and sued the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, the City of New Orleans and Mayor Mitchell Landrieu.
The monuments in question are of Confederates Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and P.G.T. Beauregard. The Battle of Liberty Place Monument is also up for removal. A federal judge will hear the first argument in the case today.
The amicus brief supports the authority of the New Orleans City Council to remove statues considered to be public nuisances.”Section 146-611 (b) of the New Orleans Code of Ordinances empowers the City Council to remove statues from public property when those statues are a nuisance. Part One of the ordinance defines a nuisance a “thing honors, praises, or fosters ideologies which are in conflict with the requirements of equal protection for citizens as provided by the constitution and laws of the United States, the state, or the laws of the city and gives honor or praise to those who participated in the killing of public employees of the city or the state or suggests the supremacy of one ethnic, religious, or racial group over any other, or gives honor or praise to any violent actions taken wrongfully against citizens of the city to promote ethnic, religious or racial superiority of any group.”
H & O Investments of Baton Rouge was hired to take down the monuments, but quit after receiving death threats, and other businesses threatened to cancel their contracts with the company, city attorney Rebecca Dietz told the court today. “The city has been in negotiations with private landowners” for the creation of a Civil War park in which the monuments would be placed, Dietz said.
I’m holding a contest to see who has the scariest ghost story. Although my story is Civil War related, yours doesn’t have to be. Just tell us about the scariest experience you’ve ever had. I will choose one random winner on Halloween. Post your spookiest spook story on my blog at https://jdrhawkins.com/blog and you could win one copy of each of my first two books in the “Renegade Series” – A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. Now, here’s my story.
I have had several scary encounters over the years, but the one that stands out is when I visited the site where the greatest cavalry battle took place on North American soil. I’m talking about the Battle of Brandy Station in Virginia. It seems like a strange place to experience a haunting. Most people would assume haunted houses or popular, well-known battlefields, such as Gettysburg, would be prime places to experience a haunting. But mine happened in a small clapboard house that has come to be known as the Graffiti House.
The Graffiti House is believed to have been built in 1858, and used for commercial purposes, since it is located next to railroad tracks. The house was used as a field hospital by both Union and Confederate troops. It was later abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was ready for demolition when, in 1993, someone discovered the unique artwork concealed beneath the wallpaper. Drawings made by both Union and Confederate soldiers have been revealed, and the house has been restored to its original condition. But, apparently, some of the soldiers are still there.
When my husband and I first visited the Graffiti House, we were welcomed inside and given a tour. However, once we reached the top of the steps and entered one of the rooms, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly nauseous. I could definitely feel a presence in that room. Once I left the room, the feeling went away. I have been to the Graffiti House since, and have never experienced this feeling again. It was very strange, to say the least!
For more information about the Graffiti House, visit:
The latest company to jump of the censorship bandwagon is Harley-Davidson. In a statement released yesterday, the company has officially banned its dealers from selling t-shirts with the Confederate battle flag on them.
“It’s been our longstanding approach that the Confederate flag may not be used by the company, its licensees or its dealers in connection with the Harley-Davidson trademark or logo, on any products, signs or other materials,” the statement reads. “We have, over time, made a very few, short-term exceptions in which the Confederate flag appeared in a design with the Harley-Davidson brand. These exceptions were primarily in the historical context, understanding that for some of our customers and dealers, the Confederate flag represents a very rich and proud heritage. These designs were reviewed on a case- by-case basis (for example, there was a small group of designs approved to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and were primarily available at dealerships near battleground sites).
“In light of recent events and the evolving cultural discussion surrounding what the Confederate flag represents, we, like many other companies, have taken a very close look at how our brand has been used in conjunction with the Confederate flag…and will no longer consider limited exceptions to this approach. We believe this is consistent with Harley-Davidson’s role in welcoming people from all walks of life into our family of riders and fostering the common bond our brand represents in uniting riders of diverse backgrounds and experiences.”
Some dealers are upset about this recent action. In Union City, Tennessee, Russell Abernathy, who owns Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson dealership, posted on Facebook, and his comments quickly went viral.
“As of today, we have been informed Harley-Davidson will no longer let any Harley Davidson Dealership sell any T-shirts with the Confederate Battle Flag on the back. This is truly a sad day in the History of the United States. Pray for the future of this country, as it needs help now. God Bless America!!!!!!!!!!”
In 1977, Harley-Davidson released a Confederate Special Edition model with the battle flag painted on the gas tank. Those were the good ole days!
Over one hundred and fifty years ago, two significant Civil War cavalry battles took place. The first was on June 9, 1863, and was the largest cavalry battle to take place in North America. The battle near Brandy Station, Virginia, occurred after Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s troopers were surprised by Union General David McMurtrie Gregg’s cavalry forces. The battle was a turning point for the Confederate cavalry. Up until then, they were far superior to the Federal cavalry, but the Yankees improved their skills, and by 1863, became worthy foes. This event lead up to the Battle of Gettysburg. My novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, describes the Battle of Brandy Station, and explains the events the happened before and after, such as three Grand Reviews that General Stuart staged prior to the attack.
Another cavalry battle took place at Brice’s Crossroads, Mississippi, on June 10, 1864, where the infamous General Nathan Bedford Forrest outflanked and outmaneuvered his foe. The battle marked another significant achievement in the Western Theatre, as General Forrest outfoxed nearly twice as many opponents. His genius has been a subject of study ever since.
Now that spring is here, Civil War reenactments are starting up around the country. This weekend, the reenactment of the Battle of Gainesville will take place in Alabama. The event will be held May 8-10, and will include a cavalry battle.
Attending a reenactment is an excellent way to discover living history and see what Civil War soldiers went through. The people who do reenacting take their hobby very seriously, and some even characterize people who actually lived, like their ancestors. Of course, there are reenactors who play the parts of famous generals and other officers, and sometimes, Abraham Lincoln shows up, too.
A typical reenactment includes several battles, period dress, rows of sutlers’ (shop owners) tents, weaponry, and Civil War medicine. They also usually include a ball complete with ladies in beautiful gowns, a ladies’ tea, and a period church service on Sunday morning. But the real excitement is in watching the battles themselves. The reenactors make them as believable as possible, and the rumble, boom, crack and smoke of the artillery and gunfire is exhilarating.
Recently, I was interviewed by blogger Vanessa Kings about my novels and my writing style. The interview follows:
Please tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.
I am an award winning author who has had several titles published. My latest book is A Beautiful Glittering Lie. It is the first book in the Renegade Series.
How did you come up with the title of “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”?
The title is based off a quote from a Confederate soldier who fought in the Civil War. He referred to battle as a “glittering lie.” I loved that reference, so I expanded on it.
What is your favorite character of “A Beautiful Glittering Lie”?
My favorite character is David Summers, the son of a Confederate infantryman. Although he is obligated to stay at home, his longing for adventure leads him into trouble.
What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
Primarily, I write historical fiction. It is fascinating to research history and see what ghosts, secrets, and little known facts I can discover.
How would you describe your writing style?
I think my books are fast paced, easy, exciting reads.
What authors inspire your writing? Do you have a mentor?
Other authors who have inspired me include Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Margaret Mitchell, J.K. Rowling and Charles Frazier. I don’t have a mentor.
What would you like to be if you weren’t a writer?
A musician and/or an artist. (I have music available on iTunes as Julie Hawkins)
What are you working on now?
My nonfiction book about the Civil War, Horses in Gray, will be published in a few months. I also have the third book in the Renegade Series coming out later this year.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Never give up! Write every chance you get. Take classes, go to conferences and join a writing group. The more you immerse yourself in the craft, the better you will become.
If you have to choose only one book to keep, knowing the others would be destroyed, which one would you save?
The Holy Bible.
Thank you very much J.D.R. Hawkins for stopping by to answer our questions!
Buy J.D.R. Hawkins books using the following links:
This weekend marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville. In commemoration, a reenactment of one of the last major battles of the Civil War took place near Four Oaks, North Carolina. The event also featured lectures, living history displays, sutlers’ tents, and soldier encampments. Thousands attended the event, which was expected to be the largest crowd to attend a Civil War reenactment in North Carolina.
The Battle of Bentonville took place near Four Oaks on March 19-21, 1865. Union General W.T. Sherman, on his rampage across the South, ripped through the state, dividing his army into two as it headed north from Fayetteville to Goldsboro. Confederate General Joseph Johnston tried to stop Sherman’s advance, but was unsuccessful when the two Union forces reunited. The battle led to Sherman’s ability to capture Raleigh on April 13.
Many spectators expressed their appreciation for the event, including Leon Dockery. “I’ve never been to a reenactment and I was curious about how that worked … I wanted (my children) to be exposed to more than what they may hear from me or read in a textbook,” he said.