From October 6 through October 12, I will be traveling with my two sons, Heath and Ryan, and my grandson, Blake. We will be touring famous Civil War battlefields in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania with additional visits to the Civil War prison, Fort Delaware, and Washington DC. To my surprise, it was Ryan that suggested this. I never knew he was that interested in the places I wrote about in An Eternity of Four Years. Normally, a writer visits the sites in his book before he writes about them, so this is a bit backwards. I did, however, “visit” them via Google Street View while writing the story.
I will post trip reports on http://www.catahoulachronicles.com daily, assuming I am not passed out from exhaustion. As the title of this post suggests, I will treat each post as if it were an on-scene report from the battlefield in the 1860s usually with a brief excerpt from the book. Each will be followed with some (modern) commentary with pics if I can make that work while on the road. These will be done from the various locations while we are traveling. (I may be biting off an awful lot doing this, but I will do my best, and I think it will be fun.)
I will be covering First Manassas (VA), Sharpsburg (MD), and Gettysburg (PA). In the six days we have to do this, we can’t cover every battle in the book, but these three were major engagements in the war and the book. We will drive through the Shenandoah Valley on the way to Sharpsburg but won’t have any time to spend there.
(By the way, did you know the North and the South often had different names for Civil War battles? First Manassas was called “First Bull Run” in the North (Second Manassas was Second Bull Run), and the Battle of Sharpsburg was called “Antietam” in the North. This is because the South tended to name battles after nearby towns, and the North tended to draw names from major terrain features on the battleground. Bull Run and Antietam were both creeks running through the battlefields. Since my books are written from a southern viewpoint, I use the southern names.)
When we visit Fort Delaware, where Ethan was held prisoner for nine months, at Ryan’s request and since it is close to Fort Delaware, we will also visit Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and maybe have a brew or two. Report to follow, hopefully. From there we will return to Washington DC and visit as much as we can in the one day remaining. We intend to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and a few other “must see” sites in DC. Again reports if I can make them work.
I hope you will “come along” on this trip with us and let us show you what we see—and learn a little American history in the process. I love history, which is one reason I write historical fiction. This is your chance to connect the history and the places with the story in An Eternity of Four Years.
I will not be inundating you with daily emails during this period. I will send out only one more reminder, and that will be a reminder announcement the day before. After that, you will be on your own to come back the next day for more Dispatches From The Front on the Catahoula Chronicles Blog. Clicking follow on the catahoulachronicles.com web site will get you automatic email updates. I also intend to post daily on FaceBook.