Quote of the Week: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. Dr. Seuss.
On April 12, 1861, one of the saddest events in our history (in my opinion) took place. At 4:30 A M Fort Sumter, SC. was fired upon, beginning the American Civil War. Brother fought against brother, father against son. Lives were torn apart. Lives were lost. When the war ended in 1865, about 620,000 soldiers had been lost.
When I was a kid, history was one of my least favorite subjects. It was just a bunch of dates and names that meant nothing to me. As an adult I was too busy with my family to think about the past. But all that changed when I started doing my family genealogy with a dear second cousin who was in her 90s. The stories she had to tell were fascinating. The people who lived so long ago came alive for me. They were flesh and blood. They hurt, they cried, they laughed. Like I do today. So began my love of history.
The Civil War became a fascinating time period for me, one that made no sense. But then few wars do, I suppose. As Lizzie says in my CW novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, "The war confuses gentle Nat. He does not comprehend why men kill each other. Neither do I."
Anyway, to remember the brave souls on both sides who fought for their beliefs, I'm dedicating today to them. Right or wrong, they are our history. I have a whole library of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Civil War. Some of my favorites and my sources of research for my novel are the diaries of women who lived during the times. I was interested in how the families of the soldiers survived when their lives were torn apart. In her own words I met Sarah Morgan who lived in Baton Rouge, LA, during the war. Mary Chesnut's diary, The Private Mary Chesnut, gives great insight into the life of a Southern belle. Other journals and diaries showed me the fears, the joys, and the hope of the families left behind.
Michael Shaara's novel, The Killer Angels, gives a close look at the war on both sides.
The Tamarack Tree, YA by Patricia Clapp, tells the story of Vicksburg.
Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines, YA by Beverly Stowe McClure (of course I have to add my book. It is being carried by a couple of the Civil War parks bookstores.) shows what life was life when Vicksburg was under seige for 47 days.
Some nonfiction books that give good accounts of the war and were very helpful in my research are:
Grant Wins the War, Decision at Vicksburg, by James R. Arnold.
The Boys' War, Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War, YA by Jim Murphy.
Vicksburg, the Battle that Won the Civil War, Children's nonfiction by Mary Ann Fraser.
Gettysburg, by Stephen W. Sears
There are so many more books that I used for reference, but no time to list them all. Do you have any favorites that you've read? Most of us, if we check our ancestors, will find someone involved in the war.
Next time we'll look at movies about the CW and places to visit to learn more.
Until then, happy reading and writing.