Slip Into Something Victorian

Home » Civil War » Past Lives and the American Civil War

Past Lives and the American Civil War

Do you believe in reincarnation? I can’t say for sure that I do, but it’s a fun idea for fiction. I especially love stories connecting those with a passion to reenact the American Civil War to those who’d actually lived through it in a past life.
I’ve used reinacartion themes in two of my stories. My time travel, Erin’s Rebel and my short story in the Civil War anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles. In the latter, the hero is a reenactor who discovers through hynopsis that he was a soldier in a past life.
I found an online account of a child who remembers being a soldier. Tell me what you think.
“Sit on your mom’s lap, close your eyes, and tell me what you see when you hear the loud noises that scare you,” Norman gently instructed Chase. I looked down at Chase’s freckled face. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.
Young Chase immediately began describing himself as a soldier–an adult soldier–carrying a gun. “I’m standing behind a rock. I’m carrying a long gun with a kind of sword at the end.” My heart was pounding in my ears, and the hair on my arms stood up as I listened. His 9-year-old sister Sarah and I glanced at each other in wide-eyed amazement.
“What are you wearing?” Norman questioned.
“I have ripped clothes, brown boots, a belt. I’m hiding behind a rock, crouching on my knees and shooting at the enemy. I’m at the edge of a valley. The battle is going on all around me.”

To read more, click the link.

I also found a book listed on Amazon that recounts stories of reenactor’s past lives. It’s called, Echoes from the Battlefield: First-Person Accounts of Civil War Past Lives by Barbara Lear

Here’s the link to that

My reincarnation story, Angel of My Dreams, is part of an American Civil War romance anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, available from The Wild Rose Press, along with fellow Scandalous Victorians, Caroline Clemmens, Isabel Roman, Jeanmarie Hamilton, Jennifer Ross and Mary Ann Webber.

Civil War reenactor, Kyle Dalton, keeps seeing a beautiful woman on the battlefield tending to soldiers, he thinks she’s another reenactor. But when she disappears into thin air, he starts to believe he’s seen a ghost. Did he have a past life with this woman?


“Where am I?”

“Shh.” She placed a finger on his lips. The scent of lavender invaded his senses.

He frowned when he realized he was lying on a cot wearing his reenactor clothing. Had he dreamed he’d come home?

“The doctor says you’ll be fine. He dug out the bullet and stitched up your leg.”

“My leg?” Kyle reached down. His pant’s leg had been cut apart at the seam. Heavy bandages wrapped around his thigh.

“This doesn’t make any sense. I twisted my ankle. It’s fine now.”

She took his hand and stroked his forehead. Her touch sent warmth and desire through his body.

“I have to know…” He swallowed. “…your name.”

She smiled. “You haven’t forgotten me already?”

“I…you never told me.”

“Of course I did.”

She leaned away.

He held tightly to her hand, fearing she’d leave again.

“Don’t go.” Her hand dissolved. He couldn’t hold her.

To purchase Northern Roses and Southern Belles

Or visit my website for more info and to read reviews



  1. Very interesting post, Susan. I have no opinion, but I’m so firmly stuck on writing Medievals that at least my friends swear I was a guy in chain mail at some point! They insist there’s no way a 21st century woman could recount battle the way I do. Just a nice way of not saying I’m strange? LOL.

  2. LOl, Miriam!

    I was at a Civil War reenactment once in my reenactor gear and a woman who claimed to be a physic told me I was a southern woman in a past life, nursing soldiers on the battlefield and used my petticoats as bandages.

    Of course, I laughed it off. She was telling everyone in camp they were either a soldier or a nurse during the Civil War, but it does make me wonder about the guys who are so fanatical about this hobby.

    And it’s fun to think about, in a fictional sense. Lot’s of great story ideas!

  3. Sarah McNeal says:

    I absolutely believe in reincarnation and I think sometimes the residue of a past life clings to us. I think it is especially true if something happened in a oast life that went unresolved and we are still attached to it.
    I read and loved both of your Civil War stories. The American Civil War is facinating.

  4. When my son was three his grandmother told me to try asking him about his past life when he was playing and his mind was not concentrating on anything. He was sitting in front of the tv, playing with a truck. I leaned over and said, “tell me about who you were in your past life.” Wow…my good natured son yelled, “No!” Jumped up, threw his truck down and looked at me with fury in his eyes like had never seen. “I don’t want to be a girl again!” Never asked him again. He’s an adult now and doesn’t recall, but finds it terribly interesting.
    Love the title of your book. Sounds super interesting

  5. Thanks, Sarah! I really do believe that’s a possibity!

    And Kathleen, what a chilling story! I wonder if it’s true children recall past lives, but as adult pressures of life push in, we forget.

    Fun ideas to play around with.

  6. Denise Eagan says:

    I’ve talked to a number of people who think thier fascination with history is a past life thing. I’m not sure. Some days I think yes, other days it’s no. One way or another though, it’s a fun concept to play with.

  7. Is sure is, Denise!

    Just stirs up my imagination–thinking about the possibilities!!

  8. I definitely believe in reincarnation. In fact, I asked a person who does past lives if I could have inherited memories from my great, great grandmother who was a writer. I found one of her stories to have sentences verbatim to what I wrote in my story. It really was a surprise and a bit scary to read them. She told me maybe I was her reincarnated… I had to go back into my story and change my sentences. I am thinking she might be the one who helps me write my stories as she is supposedly the first woman to have stories printed in a magazine and they are kept in the Sacramento State Library archives.

  9. Mary Ricksen says:

    I know I was reincarnated!! One of my lives was on a farm, I was really poor.
    Not much has changed! (grin)

  10. Hi, Paisley and Mary!

    Such cool stories!

    And Mary, at least you’re honest! It seems most people who claim to be reincarnated say they were famous people in their past lives. LOL.

  11. Isabel Roman says:

    I do believe in reincarnation because I doubt we acummulate all this knowledge only to lose it at the end. We have to retain something, yes? I don’t know what I was in a past life, but suspect it was an organizer–general or something where I told others what to do. 🙂

  12. Hi, Isabel! I have to agree! Subconsciously at least, we’d have to retain things we learned from our past lives. I also like the idea of finding lost loves again. That whole love is eternal thing! Very romantic!

    Just think of the possibilities!

  13. Susan,
    Fascinating blog and comments. 🙂 I can’t rule out reincarnation either.

  14. Hi, Susan! I’m a lurker on the HHRW loop, but this topic drew me over. 🙂

    This is such an interesting concept. My husband and I were just talking about our son who, when he was a toddler, used to say things like, “When I was older…” We always assumed he was just misspeaking, but maybe he really was talking about his activities in another life, when he was older than he was at the time he was speaking. This gets very circular!

    As for me, if I lived another life, I was *definitely* royal. 😉 Just call me…

    Princess Chassily

  15. Cynthia Owens says:

    Hi Susan, great post! I don’t know whether I believe in the whole “past life” thing, but when we were in Ireland last July, 2 things stood out for me. When we visited Bunratty Castle, my family and I had one of those photos taken where you dress up in old-fashioned clothes. We dressed up as a “gentry” family, and it’s amazing how realistic we all looked, particularly my 10-year-old son, who could have been the son of the “lord of the manor.”

    A few days later, we visited Dunguaire Castle, the castle that’s on the cover of my novel, In Sunshine or in Shadow, and I was almost convinced I’d been there before. I could almost “feel” my characters walking through that dining hall, and working on those grounds. Very spooky, but in a good way!

  16. Hey, Jeanmarie, Chassily, and Cynthia! This is such a fascinating subject! Seems everyone has opinions, or is up in air to at least the possibility.

    That’s really interesting about your son’s comments, Chassily. It’s just such a shame that the older one gets, the less they remember.

    And Chassily, if you say you were a princess, who am I to argue! LOL.

    I like to remain open to all possibilities!

  17. I definitely feel a strange affinity whenever I’m at any kind of historical site. One of the most moving in recent years was the Civil War graveyard at the Old City Cemetary in Tallahassee, FL. It’s hard to put into words (even for a writer), but the emotions I experienced were pretty powerful – as an American, a wife, mother, etc.

  18. carolyndee says:

    I do believe in reincarnation and have shared my stories with others who believe also. Taylor Caldwell supposedly based her books on her previous lives. I just like knowing a few details about mine. Perhaps that is why I love history so much. And no, I was never royalty. LOL

    Great post. Very intriguing thoughts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: