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On February 27, 1864, the first Federal inmates were brought into Andersonville prison, but the prison was not fully constructed at that time. The name Andersonville was associated with a death trap, since a quarter of the inmates died while in captivity. Henry Wirz ran the camp and, after the war ended, he was executed for brutality and mistreatment of prisoners by those under his command.
The official name of the prison was Camp Sumter. Prior to 1863, Northern and Southern armies had enacted a prisoner exchange syster for those captured. But arguments over the handling of black soldiers caused problems and prison camps had to be hastily constructed by both sides. Andersonville was built with slave labor and was located in the Georgia woods close to a railroad but away from front battle lines. On 16 acres of land, the prison was supposed to include a barracks constructed of wood, but due to inflated lumber prices, Union prisoners were forced to live under open skies, with only makeshift shanties named “shebangs” made of wood scraps and blankets, for shelter. A stream supplied fresh water in the beginning, but it soon grew contaminated with human waste.
The prison was supposed to hold 10,000 men, but after six months, three times that number were imprisoned there. The contaminated creek eroded, becoming a swamp. It took up a great portion of the compound. The prisoners received inadequate rations and most of the time, half of the population were ill. Guards often brutalized inmates and violence existed between prisoners.
Andersonville proved to be the worst among both Union and Confederate prisons.
On January 23, 1864, Harper’s Weekly featured a story about Negro soldiers liberating slaves in North Carolina.
NEGRO SOLDIERS LIBERATING SLAVES.
General Wild’s late raid into the interior of North Carolina abounded in incidents of peculiar interest, from which we have selected a single one as the subject of the illustration on page 52, representing the liberation by the negro battalion of the slaves on Mr. Terrebee’s plantation. As the reader may imagine, the scene was both novel and original in all its features. General Wild having scoured the peninsula between Pasquotank and Little Rivers to Elizabeth City, proceeded from the latter place toward Indiantown in Camden County. Having encamped overnight, the column moved on into a rich country which was covered with wealthy plantations. The scene in our sketch represents the colored troops on one of these plantations freeing the slaves. The morning light is shining upon their bristling bayonets in the back-ground, and upon a scene in front as ludicrous as it is interesting. The personal effects of the slaves are being gathered together from the outhouses on the plantation and piled, regardless of order, in an old cart, the party meanwhile availing themselves in a promiscuous manner of the Confiscation Act by plundering hens and chickens and larger fowl; and after all of these preliminary arrangements the women and children are (in a double sense) placed on an eminence above their chattels and carted off in triumph, leaving “Ole Massa” to glory in solitude and secession.
That’s the tag line of the book I just published after a long hiatus due to family difficulties. I’ve got a heroine who has grown up in a town that has labeled her as “crazy”, and a hero who was psychologically tortured by the aunt who raised him, and is a Civil War veteran to boot. I’ve set it in Iowa 1871, which makes it neither a Western or typically Victorian. Honestly, I am the queen of choosing settings and topics most people shy away from. I couldn’t help it though, because in addition to the romantic plot of the story I wanted to see how a small farming town would react to a serial killer (although obviously not labeled as such in the book).The only way for me to do that, was to write it.
So here’s the blurb, and an excerpt following it:
She thought she’d imagined him
Beth Hartwell is a little bit crazy. Or so her hometown of Mayfield believes, due to her long-ago obsession with her imaginary friend. Although in 1871, at the age of twenty-two, Beth has long since forgotten him, the phrase sticks to her like prickles to wool. If she’s ever going to be normal, she must marry a nice, normal man, have nice, normal children and live a nice normal life. She’s one reluctant yes away from accepting the only man who’ll take her, when handsome, mysterious Luke Devlin comes to town. Upon touching him, visions of fire beset her, along with a deep, unexplainable familiarity. . .
But he was real
Calamity and suffering follow Luke everywhere he goes. An orphan from birth, Luke was raised in the shadow of a mad aunt who insisted that he was evil incarnate—Satan’s son. After years of seeking proof that she was wrong, he finally accepts her ravings as prophesy. To fulfill that prophesy, he must claim his “dark angel,” the little girl with whom he had a telepathic relationship as a boy.
Trapped between love and a prophecy
Unfortunately Beth, a midwife and sister to the town’s preacher, is hardly “dark.” In order for Luke to win her, he must use everything in his arsenal, including seduction, lies and trickery. In order for Beth to pull him out of the shadows, she must uncover the secrets behind his sad, dying eyes. As the battle lines are drawn, however, a murderer strikes in Mayfield and the town accuses Luke. . .
So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
The fire rose like a monster from the depths of Hell, its only purpose to consume the building it enveloped. Its yellow head towered over the fragile wooden structure, orange hair jumping and leaping with a life of its own, scraping the underbelly of the star-studded heavens. Long, pointed fingers wrapped around the corners of the building and crawled through windows, and everything they touched turned black. The building hissed, crackled, cried, and its windows shattered under the heat. The people inside, unimportant to either building or fire, screamed for mercy.
A short distance from the building, Luke Devlin stood under a tree, the shade of new spring leaves concealing his expression. He made no attempt to assist the panicked rescuers, who threw buckets of water on the flames in a futile attempt to save the inn. Luke watched the burning stoically as words and memories passed through his mind, just across the border of conscious thought.
You killed her, you wicked, wicked boy. My sister’s dead because of you!
They’re all gonna die, son. That friend of yours is goin’ next.
It’s yellow fever. It’ll take more than half the souls that get it.
She’s a witch, a dark angel. How else could you talk to her in your mind?
You’re evil, destined to cause naught but misery and death for the good folk of the world. But you shall stay away from me. Do you understand me, boy? You stay away from me!
The last thought crept into consciousness, and Luke winced at the sound of a slamming door echoing in his head, an attic door locking him in darkness. And his soul, locked in the same.
God didn’t give you a soul.
Death and destruction shadowed him, followed him, preceded him—undesired at first, then expected, finally anticipated.
A roar filled the yard, and a piece of the roof caved in. Flames leapt through the opening; shrieks of pain clawed the air. As the fire burned, the remnants of the boy who had once chosen to stay in prison to save a friend instead of escaping burned with it. Luke could all but see his own image peering out of a cracked, soot-stained window—a shaggy, blond boy, the rough anger in his stare eclipsed by gut-wrenching fear. A spirit from years past when he’d still believed his aunt was wrong, before Andersonville and Galveston, before New York and Chicago and all the miles of misery between.
The window exploded; the spirit vanished.
It was time.
He’d accomplished the worst possible on his own. It was time to seek out the girl, his dark angel. In one swift move Luke mounted up and turned west.
He’d been born on All Hallows’ Eve five minutes before lightning started the fire that had killed his family. In his mind he envisioned the charred bodies and smelled burning flesh; the visions fed a hunger in the sucking pit in his chest where a soul ought to have been. He was evil and he was death, and up ahead, in Mayfield, Iowa, was the woman he’d waited half his life to claim.
Thought it would be fun to share the front page of Harper’s Weekly, dating January 9, 1864.
THE REBELS FIRING ON OUR
ON this page we give a graphic sketch of an attack made by rebel sharp-shooters upon our supply-train on the banks of the Tennessee. After the battle of Chickamauga, when our army had retired to its strong-hold at Chattanooga, it was the chief object of the rebels to disturb our communications, and if possible to break up its supply-trains. Of the particular instance given in the sketch the artist was an eve-witness. Upon the crags of Raccoon Mountain, and overlooking the river, were posted a small force of picked men ofLongstreet’s corps, armed with Whitworth rifles. The position was twelve miles in the rear of our works at Chattanooga, and was unguarded. Captain Goree had charge of the attacking party. The only way of reaching the position chosen for attack, and avoiding our scouts, was by taking the Indian trails through the forest heights. No sooner had the position been gained than the rumbling of the approaching train was heard along the river-bank. Thus when the train came up the gorge, preceded by a small infantry escort, and had fairly filled the open space of the road in front of the rebel sharp-shooters, it was entirely at the mercy of the latter. Then the word wok given to fire, and a score of deafening reports leaped from crag to crag; and close upon the fire followed the confusion of a stampede. The teams in front were crippled by dead mules; and those behind, thus blocked in and unable to move forward, were equally cut off from retreat by the inextricably confused wagon in the rear. The escort, after firing a few shots, fled panic-stricken, leaving the train in the hands of the enemy.
THE SIEGE OF CHARLESTON.
ON page 28 we give an illustration representing the effect produced by one ofGilmore’s shells bursting in the streets of Charleston. When Gilmore first began to shell the city it had more noncombatants in it than it has now; it was not believed that the city was within range until the actual reality brought conviction. The illustration is designed to represent the first occasion upon which the city was shelled, and depicts the overwhelming surprise of the citizens. The shelling commenced at midnight, but did little harm beyond terrifying the ladies left in the city. Only a single house was set on fire. In the particular scene presented by the artist a fireman is running through the streets giving the alarm, and a watchman, thoroughly overcome, is taking leave of his senses and his staff in the foreground. The gun burst after a few discharges. The distance was over four miles. At latest dates General Gilmore had recommenced shelling the city, having destroyed twelve buildings, killed one man, and seriously wounded some eight or ten persons. We give also on the same page an illustration representing the interior of Fort Sumter after a continuous bombardment by the batteries on Morris Island. The bombardment was from 200-pound Parrott guns, and eve’ v gun of the fort was dismounted, leaving the garrison to be passive spectators of the gradual demolition of the walls. Nearly the whole parapet of the fort was swept away. The gorge-face presents one mass of ruins, and the casemates scarcely afford shelter to the garrison. Beauregard, it is said, is determined to hold the fort till the last; by the bayonet, if need be.
See entire issue at this site: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1864/longstreets-sharpshooters.htm
On December 22, 1864 from William Tecumseh Sherman sent a short telegram to Abraham Lincoln: “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” Lincoln had been out of touch with Sherman for several weeks, ever since the major general had left Atlanta on his March to the Sea. The President found great relief in the brief message.
150 years ago today, December 26, 1864, Lincoln sent his reply. “Many, many thanks for your Christmas gift.” He admitted to being “anxious, if not fearful” when Sherman left Atlanta, but put his trust in the general. “Feeling that you were the better judge, and remembering that ‘nothing risked, nothing gained,’ I did not interfere.” Lincoln added, “the honor is all yours.”
Of course, Georgians did not agree. Savannah surrendered without much fuss, but the March to the Sea, cut civilian support for the Confederacy. And it lives in Southern memory as one of the cruelest campaigns of the Civil War.
Watch a video of the historic letter: William Tecumsah Sherman’s Christmas letter to Abraham Lincoln
G.K. Warren and his troops moved south following the Weldon Railroad toward Stony Creek. The Federal Army’s intent was to destroy much of this vital rail supply line. A.P. Hill’s forces trailed them. Warren’s troops destroyed large sections of the railroad as well as other supplies meant for the Confederate Army. Although much damage was done, the Confederates repaired the railroad heading north to Stony Creek Station by March of 1865.
For more information on this battle, visit these sites:
For info on my romances set during and just after the American Civil War, visit my website: http://susanmacatee.com
If you love Civil War romance, like I do, my award winning Civil War romance, Confederate Rose, is now available as part of a boxed-set of Civil War romance novels titled Whispers In the Wind. The set is being released today from The Wild Rose Press.
From torn loyalties come… Rebellious hearts and Forbidden passions
This digital boxed set contains 6 complete novels.
The Rebel Wife by Donna Dalton
When war correspondent Jackson Porter lies to a Union patrol to save a red-headed rebel, he gets something he never expected…a wife. With her knowledge of corruption at the federal prisons, he can deliver the topnotch article his newspaper editor expects.
Louisa Carleton needs a miracle–even if that miracle is a Yankee. With her brother’s imminent death in prison, she has no option but to join forces with the enemy. Can she save her brother from a vindictive prison commander while still protecting her heart, or will Jackson stir dark memories she wants to forget?
Confederate Rose by Susan Macatee
Disguised as a man to serve with her husband as a soldier in the Confederate Army, Irish immigrant Katie Rose O’Reilly vows to remain in the ranks and seek revenge on Yankees after her husband is killed at Sharpsburg. When she falls and almost drowns in a swollen stream, Southerner Alexander Hart, a Yankee spy, saves Katie from drowning, then nurses her through a resulting fever, keeping his identity secret from the feisty and beautiful Rebel soldier even as he finds himself falling in love with her. Can Katie reconcile her loyalties with her love?
Northern Temptress by Nicole McCaffrey
When the Civil War arrives on her door step, Gettysburg doctor Alexandra Winters uses her knowledge of medicine to help the wounded. When an uncommonly handsome rebel officer finds her tending the wounded in his battlefield, he takes her for a spy until she confesses her darkest secret; her brother fights for the south.
Major Caleb McKenna, CSA, has grown weary of war and bloodshed. Dreams of glory and valor are long gone, as is the memory of his beloved fiancee back home in Georgia. Try as he might, he can’t recall her face. Instead, it’s the bewitching image of Alexa Winters that haunts his every thought.
When the major is gravely wounded, Alexa comes to his aide. Hiding a Confederate officer in a house filled with recuperating Union soldiers is risky… but fighting their growing desire is a battle they can’t afford to lose.
Memory’s Edge by Bette McNicholas
Brave and feisty at eighteen, Victoria Garrett takes on a mission to smuggle two slaves to the Underground Railroad in Delaware. But after an explosion at the DuPont Munitions Factory, she’s arrested as a Confederate spy.
Captain Luke Cassidy has different thoughts about Victoria, the only survivor found unconscious at the scene. He notices strangulation marks on her neck. Invincible together, he and his men rescue her and hide her from the person trying to kill her.
Suffering from amnesia, Victoria is alone and frightened. She turns to the one person who will save her, Luke Cassidy. Theirs is a tale of murder, espionage and love…
An April To Remember by Lauri Robinson
April Simonson hated all men. They were cruel, sinful beasts. Her disfigured face was proof. That is until she met Jerek Brinkley. Then, as the revered Sultana explodes, April falls into the dark, muddy waters of the Mississippi River terrified she’ll never see the light of day or the handsome riverboat gambler again.
Jerek Brinkley fought hell and high water to save the northern vixen who’d won his heart with her cards tricks, only to fear Allan Pinkerton’s arrival in Memphis might reveal secrets he’s not ready for her to know.
Based on history’s greatest maritime disaster, An April to Remember, sprinkled with real facts and events, revives the Sultana, a civil war riverboat whose death toll surpassed the Titanic’s, and offers a new twist on what might have happened that fateful night in 1865.
Shadows Of A Southern Moon by Meg Hennessy
In a country torn apart, Brandt Michaels serves the Union. Behind enemy lines, he expects the danger of Confederate skirmishers and swamps. Instead, he finds himself bewitched by a beautiful woman, igniting his passion beyond anything he’s ever known. But he soon learns her coy games are only a distraction, as she secretly devises a deadly trap for his capture.
Elizabeth DuBay is determined to deny her attraction to the Union officer and plans to foil his mission. But the moment Elizabeth surrenders to her burning desire for one unforgettable night of love, her life changes forever. As her well-set trap closes in on Brandt Michaels, Elizabeth must risk everything for his escape. From their perilous journey through war-ravaged countryside springs a passion too strong for the war to destroy…and too consuming for the lovers to deny….
To purchase or for more info, visit The Wild Rose Press.