J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Civil War”

Another Stellar Review for A Beautiful Glittering Lie

I recently received another flattering review for my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie. Thank you so much, Abi Rowe, for your review!

BTW, this book is being republished with another company, and will be re-released this spring. Stay tuned for a new cover reveal!

Book Cover - Highest Resolution

The work follows how the lives of a family from a small town in Alabama are affected by the Civil War. I usually steer clear of historical fiction revolving around wars because they’re all battles or overly romanticized. The author of this work does an excellent job at finding a balance; this is one of the most realistic works of fiction I’ve read concerning the CIvil War. The author did her research. The characters are also well-written and aren’t static, making the work engaging.
I received a complimentary copy of this work through Voracious Readers Only in exchange for my honest opinion.

Five Star Review For A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Book Cover - Highest Resolution

Recently, I have been sharing my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, with readers who are members of a group called Voracious Readers. The version I’ve been sending is from my previous publisher, but the book is about to be republished with Westwood Books Publishing. It should be out again by March.

In the meantime, I have been fortunate enough to receive interest, as well as several reviews, for my book. Here is a five-star review I received last week. (This is the old book cover. I will have a new cover reveal in a few weeks.)

** spoiler alert ** Although not the genre of book I would normally read I was given the opportunity to read and review this book by the author through Voracious Readers. Looking for something different I jumped at the chance and was glad I did. Hawkins writes in such a way that the reader feels they are part of the story. A novel written about America’s battle between the North and the South the closest I’d come to reading anything around this period was Gone With the Wind so it’s definitely not my normal style. However I saw every battle scene clearly felt every emotion and experience expressed by Bud, Hirarm, David, Jake and their families, friends and comrades. I found myself praying for Bud and Hirarm’s safe return, internally yelling warnings at the boys, and reaching for tissues when Sally was stolen and Hirarm didn’t return as planned. A great book well written and one I’d highly recommend.

 

 

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you a very happy New Year! This year is especially special, because it is a new decade, and it is, once again the Roaring 20’s! I hope that this decade graces you with love, joy, prosperity and peace. I also hope this year provides you with many opportunities, blessings, and reasons to achieve your goals.

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During the past decade, I faced many blessings, some challenges, and a few heartaches. My husband was transferred several times, so we moved from Horn Lake, Mississippi to Loveland, Colorado to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and finally landed in Colorado Springs, Colorado three years ago. We bought a little fixer-upper bungalow with a gorgeous view of the Rockies and Pikes Peak. I lost my father in 2012, but we were blessed with two grandsons, the youngest of which is only four weeks old. And we met many new friends.

The past year was somewhat challenging for me. My previous publisher decided to drop my Civil War Renegade Series, so I spent months finding a new publisher. I have succeeded and look forward to re-publishing A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire and A Rebel Among Us with Westwood Books Publishing. It should prove to be a very exciting and lucrative partnership.

In the meantime, my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray, has been holding its own. I’m thinking of making it into an audio book. What do you think?

Horses in Gray Cover

One of my favorite authors, Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs), sent me an email with this inspiring list, so I’m passing it on to you. Thanks Claire!

 

2020 vision pic

Seven Simple Steps to Find Your 2020 Vision

SELF. You can’t have self-awareness, self-confidence, or any of those other good self words until you decide to like yourSELF, and who you really are.

SOUL SEARCHING. Sometimes it’s just getting quiet enough to figure out what you really want; often it’s digging up that buried dream you had before life got in the way.

SERENDIPITY. When you stay open to surprises, they often turn out to be even better than the things you planned. Throw your routine out the window and let spontaneity change your life.

SYNCHRONICITY. It’s like that saying about luck being the place where preparation meets opportunity. Open your eyes and ears—then catch the next wave that’s meant for you!

STRENGTH. Life is tough. Decide to be tougher. If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters (204 if you’re in Japan!).

SISTERHOOD. Connect, network, smile. Build a structure of support, step by step. Do something nice for someone—remember, karma is a boomerang!

SATISFACTION. Of course you can get some (no matter what the Rolling Stones said). Call it satisfaction, fulfillment, gratification, but there’s nothing like the feeling of setting a goal and achieving it. So make yours a good one!

BONUS STEP: SIMPLIFY! In the years since writing this list, I’ve discovered how truly fabulous it is to simplify. I’ve moved and downsized twice in the last decade, cleared away so much physical and mental clutter, and learned to say yes only to the things I really want to do. I’m finding the balance between writing and walking the beach every day.

BONUS 2020 VISION TIP: Pick one of the words above (or another!) and make it your theme for 2020. Print out the word in big letters and tape it to the refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. Write it in tiny letters on a small river rock or on the inside of a seashell and carry it in your pocket or purse. Scrawl it across the top of your daily journal entry or write it on each day of your calendar. Choosing a single word is such a great way to set your intention and keep your focus on it for the whole year.

 

Another Christmas Story From the Past

pickets

A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS…

Christmas (December 25, 1864) came while we were fighting famine within and Grant without our lines. To meet either was a serious problem. The Southern people from their earliest history had observed Christmas as the great holiday season of the year. It was the time of times, the longed-for period of universal and innocent, but almost boundless jollification among young and old…

 

The holiday, however, on Hatcher’s Run, near Petersburg, was joyless enough for the most misanthropic. The one worn-out railroad running to the far South could not bring to us half enough necessary supplies; and even if it could have transported Christmas boxes of good things, the people at home were too depleted to send them. They had already impoverished themselves to help their struggling Government, and large areas of our territory had been made desolate by the ravages of marching armies.

The brave fellows at the front, however, knew that their friends at home would gladly send them the last pound of sugar in the pantry, and the last turkey or chicken from the barnyard. So, they facetiously wished each other “Merry Christmas!” as they dined on their wretched fare. There was no complaining, no repining, for they knew their exhausted country was doing all it could for them.

Source: REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR, By Gen. John B. Gordon, 1904.

Defending the Heritage

Photo: “Confederate Pickets in the Snow” by Don Troiani

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Volume 43, Issue No. 12, Dec. 2019 ed.)

 

 

Stories from Christmases Past

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. There is so much electricity in the air. Everyone is excited and friendly. Of course, here in Colorado, people are friendly most all the time, but Christmas is special. What other time of year can you listen to decades, even centuries old songs, and sing along? What other time of year can you see living nativities, Santa Clauses galore, and so many decorations, presents and treats? And what other time of year, other than possibly the Fourth of July, can you see so many colorful lights?

I love Christmas, but most of all, I love what it represents: faith, hope and love. Please keep our military personnel in your prayers, as well as those who have lost loved ones this time of year.

The following is an article written by a Confederate soldier at Christmas. It must have been, and I’m sure, still is, very difficult to be away from home during the holidays.

Christmas

Diary Of Captain Robert Emory Park, of Twelfth Alabama Regiment

Excerpts from his diary:

“December 25th, Christmas Day — How keenly and vividly home recollections come to my mind today! I see the huge baked turkey, the fat barbecued pig, delicious oysters, pound and fruit cakes, numerous goblets of eggnog and syllabub, etc., etc., on my beloved mother’s hospitable table. My brothers and sisters are sitting around it as of yore, and my dear fond mother, with warmest love and pride beaming from her still handsome blue eyes, now somewhat dimmed by approaching age, sits at one end bountifully helping each plate to a share of the well cooked eatables before her. How happy I would be if I were with them! I can but repeat the words of the familiar song —

 

“Do they miss me at home, do they miss me?

‘Twould be an assurance most dear
To know that some loved one was saying,

Today I wish he were here.”

Those touching words, too, of “Home, Sweet Home” flash before my memory, and I cannot restrain the tears that rush to my eyes. Over three months have passed since I have heard from home and mother. What changes may have occurred since my capture, the 19th of September! Two of my brothers are members of the First Georgia reserves, now guarding the 30,000 Yankee prisoners at Andersonville — one is major, and the other, a youth of sixteen years, is one of Captain Wirz’s sergeants. These two are no doubt absent from the annual home reunion. Others may be too. I hope and feel that my brothers are civil and kind to the Yankees they are guarding. They are too brave to act otherwise. My poor prison dinner was in sad contrast with my Christmas dinners at home. It consisted of beef soup, a small piece of pickled beef, some rice and a slice of loaf bread. Lastly, to our astonishment, about three mouthsful each of bread pudding, not very sweet, were handed us.

December 26th, 27th and 28th — I am able to get about on my crutches, but still feel the effects of my severe fall. Major Hanvey, who sleeps in a small room above mine, is quite sick. Last night I sat up alone with him until he went to sleep, long after midnight. He was suffering from a high fever and was delirious. His thoughts were of his wife and little daughter, in far off Georgia, and he spoke of them in the tenderest, fondest manner. I fear he will never see his loved ones again.

December 29th, 30th and 31st — The last days of eventful, never to be forgotten 1864. All hope of a speedy exchange is now dying within us. The prospect is exceedingly gloomy. Savannah has been captured by Sherman, and Hood defeated in Tennessee. I am not at all despondent however, and believe the Confederate States will be successful and independent yet. It is rumored we are to be removed in a day or two to Old Capitol Prison, Washington city. Our surgeon confirms the report. Point Lookout will be left with no regrets.

Southern Historical Society Papers
Vol. II. Richmond. Va. November. 1876. No.5

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A Hughey Camp 1452 Sons of Confederate Veterans, President Jefferson Davis Chapter of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, December 2019 ed., Volume 43, Issue No. 12)

 

Excerpt from Horses in Gray

Here is an excerpt from my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses. The book is available from all online booksellers, and has received numerous five-star reviews. It makes a great gift for that history buff/horse lover on your list, or for anyone who loves nonfiction.

Horses in Gray Cover

 

J.E.B. Stuart’s Magnificent Mounts

One of the most flamboyant officers in the American Civil War was Brigadier General James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart. Born on February 6, 1833 in Patrick County, Virginia, he was the descendant of military elite: his great-grandfather, Major Alexander Stuart, commanded a regiment in the Revolutionary War, and his father, Archibald, served during the War of 1812 before becoming a U.S. Representative. J.E.B. was the eighth of eleven children, and the youngest of five sons. His mother, Elizabeth Letcher Pannill Stuart, a strict religious woman with a good sense for business, ran the family farm,1 Laurel Hill, which was operated with slave labor.

J.E.B. was homeschooled until he was 12, when he was sent to various teachers in the area for schooling. He entered Emory and Henry College at age fifteen, and attended from 1848 to 1850.2 While growing up, he developed a profound love and admiration for horses, becoming a highly-skilled rider, like most young men of the South. In 1850, he obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. It is there that he met Robert E. Lee, who was appointed superintendent in 1852. The two became close friends, and J.E.B. spent much time with the Lee’s. He was a popular student, always happy, and tolerated being teased by his classmates, who nicknamed him “Beauty” because of his comely appearance.

While at The Point, he rode his favorite horse, Tony, on cavalry exercises, until one day in March, 1853, when he wrote:

Tony was condemned by a board of officers as being unfit, and suffered “the penalty.” But there is consolation in the thought that such is the fortune of war, and we are all victims ready for sacrifice when it shall please U.S. I propose therefore that we wear mourning on the little finger for one week. His loss I deeply deplore.

There were plenty of other horses back home, however, and he wrote his cousin, Bettie, that: I suppose I will have to content myself with Duroc, Bembo, Rhoderick, Don Quixote, Forager, or Jerry.3

In 1856, Stuart graduated 13th in his class of 46, and ranked 10th in cavalry tactics. He intentionally degraded his academic performance during his last year of school to avoid being placed in the elite but dull Corp of Engineers.4 Upon graduation, he promptly grew a thick, cinnamon-colored beard to cover his face.

On January 28, 1855, J.E.B. arrived at Fort Davis once he was assigned to the U.S. Mounted Rifles in Texas.5 But after only a few months, he was transferred to the newly formed 1st Cavalry Regiment at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas Territory, and promoted to first lieutenant.

In September, he proposed to Flora Cooke, less than two months after they met. She was the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, the commander of the 2nd U.S. Dragoon Regiment. Completely smitten, J.E.B. said of the whirlwind romance, “Veni, Vidi, Victus sum,” which in Latin means I came, I saw, I was conquered. The death of his father postponed their marriage, but on November 14, they were wed before a small gathering limited to family witnesses.6

Stuart gained experience as a cavalry officer during conflicts on the frontier with Native-American Indians. He was wounded on July 29, 1857 by a Cheyenne, but the injury did little more damage than to pierce the skin.7 He was also involved in “Bleeding Kansas” on the Kansas-Missouri border, when John Brown’s militants murdered slaveholding farmers to bring attention to their radical abolitionist views.

The Stuart’s first child, a girl, was born in 1856, but she died the same day. However, on November 14, 1857, Flora gave birth to another girl, who survived. The Stuart’s named her Flora as well.

Two years later, J.E.B. patented a piece of cavalry equipment known as a saber hook, which was used to attach sabers to belts. While he was in Washington D.C.8 to discuss contracts, he heard about John Brown’s raid at the U.S. Arsenal in nearby Harpers Ferry, so he volunteered as an aide-de-camp. Arriving at Harpers Ferry astride his bay, blooded mare, Virginia, he accompanied Robert E. Lee with a company of U.S. Marines and four companies of Maryland militia. J.E.B. immediately recognized “Old Ossawatomie

Brown” from his days in Kansas.9 Under a flag of truce, Stuart attempted to negotiate surrender, but Brown refused. The “fort” where he and his followers were holed up was stormed, and a gunfight ensued. Sadly, the first death in the tragedy was that of Hayward Shepherd, a freed slave and railroad baggage handler on the B&O line. The first raider killed was also a freed black man, Dangerfield Newby. Stuart was on hand to see John Brown hanged, but not before the fanatical abolitionist made an ominous statement: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed, it might be done.”

On June 26, 1860, Flora gave birth to a boy, who was named Philip St. George Cooke Stuart after Flora’s father. On April 22, 1861, J.E.B. was promoted to captain, but because of Virginia’s secession, he resigned from the U.S. Army on May 3, and was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel for the Confederacy a week later. Learning that Colonel Cooke had chosen to remain loyal to the Union, J.E.B. changed his son’s name to James Ewell Brown Stuart, Jr. (“Jimmie”) in late 1861 out of disgust with his father-in-law.10

Besides Virginia, J.E.B. had many other horses during the war, including Skylark, My Maryland, Chancellor, Star of the East, Lady Margrave, General, Bullet, and Highfly. Most were great blooded bays with black points, animals of the hunter type with distinguished bloodlines.11 Many of the horses were given to him by admirers or his own troopers, and some he acquired through his brother, William Alexander, who Stuart had recruited to be on the lookout for such fine horseflesh. J.E.B. also owned two setters that he took with him on campaigns. The dogs usually rode in the wagon, but sometimes they could be seen riding with Stuart in his saddle.

https://www.amazon.com/Horses-Gray-Famous-Confederate-Warhorses/dp/145562327X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=horses+in+gray&qid=1576276929&sr=8-1

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

I learned something very interesting when I read the following article. Thanksgiving was originally a Southern holiday. That makes sense, since it actually started in Virginia in 1619, an entire year before the holiday was observed by the Plymouth Colony.

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In October 1861, President Jefferson Davis issued the following proclamation two years before Abraham Lincoln did.

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“WHEREAS, it hath pleased Almighty God, the Sovereign Disposer of events, to protect and defend us hitherto in our conflicts with our enemies as to be unto them a shield.

AND WHEREAS, with grateful thanks we recognize His hand and acknowledge that not unto us, but unto Him, belongeth the victory, and in humble dependence upon His almighty strength, and trusting in the justness of our purpose, we appeal to Him that He may set at naught the efforts of our enemies, and humble them to confusion and shame.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, in view of impending conflict, do hereby set apart Friday, the 15th day of November, as a day of national humiliation and prayer, and do hereby invite the reverend clergy and the people of these Confederate States to repair on that day to their homes and usual places of public worship, and to implore blessing of Almighty God upon our people, that he may give us victory over our enemies, preserve our homes and altars from pollution, and secure to us the restoration of peace and prosperity.

 

GIVEN UNDER HAND AND SEAL OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES AT RICHMOND, THIS THE 31ST DAY OF OCTOBER, YEAR OF OUR LORD, ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND SIXTY-ONE.

(Article courtesy of The Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, November 2019 ed.)

Distortion of History

Monument_avenue_richmond_virginia

Teresa Roane and I have taken up a crusade to defend Confederate monuments. She is more of an activist, and I am a writer, but we both feel the same passion about saving our history. Ms. Roane previously worked at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. She sees firsthand how the history of Richmond in relation to the Civil War has fallen under attack for the past few years.

Yesterday, she posted on Facebook:

“This is a sad day in Virginia. The fight to preserve Confederate heritage begins. I have not forgotten that one Richmond City Council member said that they hoped that the Virginia General Assembly would come under Democratic control. Why? Because then they could petition to eliminate Monument Avenue.

“Confederate memorials have existed for decades. An organization with a 5 million dollar endowment created a buzz phrase in 2017 and anyone who did not have a lick of sense spread that phrase all over this country. It created racial division and brought out such hatred. It also proved that ignorance about Confederate history reigns.

“Here is my question to the people who sat quietly on the sidelines. What are you going to do now? I have met so many people who said that they didn’t want the Confederate memorials removed. Will you stand up now? Will you let the politicians dictate history?

“We are in one heck of a fight……”

JEB

I cannot comprehend why this tragedy keeps escalating, although I understand why it occurred in the first place. If my ancestors were under attack, I’d be all in arms. However, my relatives came over from Ireland and Germany after the War Between the States ended. Still, I can’t believe how disrespectful it is that the great Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to disregard its heritage, along with so many other Southern states. Contorting everything related to the Confederacy by claiming it to be racist/Jim Crow is inaccurate, offensive, distasteful, and wrong. Keep distorting our historic remembrances by destroying and hiding them, and pretty soon, our history will all be gone. Erase our history, and after a while, history will be repeated because we will forget.

Here’s another jab against American heritage. It’s amazing how the past is being twisted into inaccurate, untrue current views.

Stonewall

H.R.4179 – NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS ACT

116TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION
H. R. 4179

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 9, 2019

Mr. Espaillat (for himself, Mr. Evans, Ms. Clarke of New York, Ms. Velázquez, Ms. Adams, Mr. Quigley, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Mr. Khanna, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Mr. Gallego) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Natural Resources, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL To prohibit the use of Federal funds for Confederate symbols, and for other purposes.

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act.

2. Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1) The Confederate battle flag is one of the most controversial symbols from U.S. history, signifying a representation of racism, slavery, and the oppression of African Americans.

(2) The Confederate flag and the erection of Confederate monuments were used as symbols to resist efforts to dismantle Jim Crow segregation, and have become pillars of Ku Klux Klan rallies.

(3) There are at least 1,503 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces, including 109 public schools named after prominent Confederates, many with large African-American student populations.

 

(4) There are more than 700 Confederate monuments and statues on public property throughout the country, the vast majority in the South. These include 96 monuments in Virginia, 90 in Georgia, and 90 in North Carolina.

(5) Ten major U.S. military installations are named in honor of Confederate military leaders. These include Fort Rucker (Gen. Edmund Rucker) in Alabama; Fort Benning (Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning) and Fort Gordon (Maj. Gen. John Brown Gordon) in Georgia; Camp Beauregard (Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard) and Fort Polk (Gen. Leonidas Polk) in Louisiana; Fort Bragg (Gen. Braxton Bragg) in North Carolina; Fort Hood (Gen. John Bell Hood) in Texas; and Fort A.P. Hill (Gen. A.P. Hill), Fort Lee (Gen. Robert E. Lee), and Fort Pickett (Gen. George Pickett) in Virginia.

3. Federal funds restriction

(a) In general

Except as provided in subsection (c), no Federal funds may be used for the creation, maintenance, or display, as applicable, of any Confederate symbol on Federal public land, including any highway, park, subway, Federal building, military installation, street, or other Federal property.

(b) Confederate symbol defined

The term Confederate symbol includes the following:

(1) A Confederate battle flag.

(2) Any symbol or other signage that honors the Confederacy.

(3) Any monument or statue that honors a Confederate leader or soldier or the Confederate States of America.

(c) Exceptions
(d) Subsection( a) does not apply—

if the use of such funds is necessary to allow for removal of the Confederate symbol to address public safety; or

(2) in the case of a Confederate symbol created, maintained, or displayed in a museum or educational exhibit, with such designation as the Secretary determines appropriate:

(1) Fort Rucker, Alabama.
(2) Fort Benning, Georgia.
(3) Fort Gordon, Georgia.
(4) Camp Beauregard, Louisiana. (5) Fort Polk, Louisiana.

(6) Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (7) Fort Hood, Texas.
(8) Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.
(9) Fort Lee, Virginia.

(10) Fort Pickett, Virginia. (b) References

Any reference in any law, regulation, map, document, paper, or other record of the United States to a military installation referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be a reference to such installation as redesignated under such subsection.

 

(Article courtesy of the Southern Comfort, Samuel A. Hughey camp 1452, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Vol. 43, Issue No. 11, November 2019 ed.)

Respecting the Dead

vandal
It’s a shame how our culture has bred so many who think it’s okay to vandalize grave sites because of their political views. I see too frequently where headstones have been broken, statues have been overturned, and monuments have been painted with graffiti. Why have we lost so much respect for the dead?

In my last blog, I talked about the undead, and brought up Frankenstein as an example. Gruesome as it seems, graves were commonly robbed back in the day. Not only were the grave robbers after jewelry and valuables, but some were after body parts!

grave-robbers

Here is an excerpt describing such horrific deeds from my novel, A Rebel Among Us. Watch for its re-release, complete with a new book cover, coming soon.

Have a happy, and safe, Halloween!

halloweenspirit
Hershel awoke near sunset. “Huntsville, go fetch me a pencil and paper.”
David did as he asked, returning shortly with the requested items.
“You write this down,” he said, pointing a wilting finger at him.
David knelt beside him.
The old man continued. “You write to my wife, and tell her I loved her dearly, and tell her I miss her, but I’m fixin’ to go to a better place.”
“Harrison, there ain’t no need to …”
“Now don’t you be tellin’ me there ain’t a need!” he exclaimed.
David drew back, startled by the sudden, unexpected outburst.
“Sorry,” he apologized softly. “Tell her I long to see her and the young’uns once again, but since that’s impossible, tell her that my final thoughts were of them.”
David nodded.
“You go now, Huntsville. Go write that. Savvy? And send it to her in Tupelo. Can you do that?”
“Yessir,” David replied compassionately. He gazed down at the sickly old man momentarily before stepping out of the tent. Overcome with sorrow, he made his way back to the barracks.
The first weekend of February brought a horrendous blizzard,which dumped nearly two feet of snow. The town of Elmira shut down, and the trains ceased to run, as the thermometer plunged into the single digits. When the storm finally passed, David struggled to make his way across Foster’s Pond to check on his bunkmate. Entering the tent, he saw that two of the cots were empty. The sick man lying there alone looked up at him.
“Where’s the feller who was occupyin’ this cot?” David asked him.
The man seemed too weak to respond, but finally uttered, “Dead house.”
Stunned, David quickly walked to the morgue, and entered to see several attendees place frozen bodies into pine coffins. The cadavers’ bones cracked as they were being forced into their eternal chambers. He grimaced, meandering down an aisle until he unwittingly found a coffin with a wooden marker tied to the top of it that read:

Ltn Hershel P Harrison

42nd Mississippi

Died 2-8-1865

Standing over the pine box, he stared down at the chiseled lettering. A cart lumbered up, coming to a halt outside the morgue. With a heavy sigh, he departed the cold charnel, barely noticing other inmates who were loading the coffins onto the back of the wagon before transporting them to Woodlawn Cemetery.

One of the attendants noticed him, and said, “No need to fret. John Jones will tend to them proper.”

“Who’s John Jones?” he asked.

“He’s the ex-slave whose markin’ every grave. Doin’ a right thorough job of it, too.”

David watched for a moment, still tying to comprehend that Hershel was truly gone. He slowly shuffled through the deep snow, and dismally wondered if he might soon end up the same way. Suddenly, he remembered what one of the Tarheels had told him about grave robbers. According to Sherwood Richardson, the loathsome ghouls unearthed buried cadavers, and sold them to area doctors so that they could conduct experiments on them. He hoped that such a fate wouldn’t befall Hershel’s body.

Bringing the Dead to Life

With Halloween rapidly approaching, costumes, parties, and Trick-or-Treating are imminent. One popular costume that has been prevalent for a few years is the zombie. My youngest son loves them. He even made a music video last year featuring numerous zombies. 

Preview YouTube video In The Wilderness – Apocalypse (Official Music Video)

The undead have always been fascinating – hence the popularity of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.  Following several Civil War battles, the dead were heaped up in piles. Amazingly, after the carcasses were being carried off for burial, some men buried under the carnage came back to life and lived to tell about it. I have always found it interesting how the Victorians saved hair from their loved ones, both dead and living, and made hair flower pictures out of them. They also loved to pose deceased people for photographs, making them look as lifelike as possible. They even went so far as to paint pupils on their subjects’ eyelids, and prop them on stands to make them look like they were standing up. Creepy!

Disturbing-Victorian-Art-Of-Death

Some old photos of the Civil War, which of course were all originally in black and white, have had color added. I think that it adds a lot to the photos, and brings them to life. It’s hard to imagine the people and scenes in the old tintypes, because they seem so ancient. But with added color, it makes them seem more real, somehow.

Civil War

My grandson is dressing up as a Ghostbuster this year. His dad did when he was little, too. Like zombies, ghosts are always fascinating. There are too many haunted places related to the War Between the States to mention. Some are more eery than others, but all are interesting. Of course, Gettysburg is probably the most haunted battlefield, since it is positioned on a lay line. There are also many haunted mansions, prison camps, cemeteries, and museums located all over the country. Even the White House is haunted with Lincoln’s ghost. Alas, these apparitions just cannot be brought back to life. If they could, think of the amazing stories they could tell.

ghost

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