Thanksgiving in the Field – 1863 from “Death Piled Hard” reposted 2020

Thanksgiving

One of my pre-occupations is the cycle of novels that I wrote concerned with what I think I learned in life.  It is set in the American Civil War and called "Strike the Tent."  Why?  If I knew why perhaps I could have set it in some other time and place.  I have been writing at this for a long time. In one of the books, there is the story of a French professional soldier (John Balthazar), an officer with much service in Africa, who is sent to America to "observe" Lee's army for his government. Once here, he becomes ever more involved until he ends by being asked to form a provisional battalion of infantry from men nobody else knows what to do with. Line crossers, men from broken units, disciplinary problems, etc. He sets out to do that. In this passage we see his battalion going into Winter Quarters in November, 1863 south of Culpeper. Virginia. They have just made a long withdrawal to the south, away from the disastrous field of Rapahannock Station. Pat Lang

———————————-

"Throughout the army, soldiers started to construct their winter quarters. They had lived so long in the forest that they could build solid little houses of sticks and mud if they had a couple of weeks in which to work.  Small towns arose in the woods.  They filled up the forests that sloped away to the northwest from the foot of Pony Mountain. Smoke drifted in the wind, eddying and streaming, bringing an acrid bite of wood taste in the air. Oak and hickory, maple and poplar, the smoke brought the smell of their little communities so like those their ancestors had made in the beginning of their new life in America.  The men thought of Thanksgiving; some reached out beyond that to remember Christmas.  Balthazar watched his troops build their winter town. He had never seen soldiers do such a thing. In Europe, soldiers on campaign lived under canvas or in requisitioned houses.He thought their skill a marvelous thing, and told them so.

 

On the 26th they had Thanksgiving.  Smoot and Harris explained the nature of this feast to Balthazar, telling him of the memory of God's providence to the colonists at Jamestown.He heard them out, and sent hunting parties into the woodland.

Jubal Early came to dinner. He sat on a saw horse in the barn where they ate, a tin plate of venison and wild turkey in one hand, a tea cup of whiskey beside him.

The troops sat in the hay eating happily.

Balthazar had taken charge of the cooking, supervising the half dozen Black cooks that Harris recruited in Hays' brigade.  The day the cooking started, Harris was pleased to have several men volunteer to help. Among them was Smith, the "D" Company commander. After watching his creation of an admirable kettle of turkey soup, Balthazar was sure that Smith, like Harris, was professionally trained.

Early complimented them on the stuffing, and said he had never had anything quite like it.  He accepted a second helping.  He had a chaplain with him, a French Jesuit who worked in the military hospitals in Lynchburg.

The priest and Balthazar chatted in their own language during dinner. The men listened to this with interest, turning from one to the other, examining their commander, seeking assurance of something they could not name.

After dinner, the priest offered his thoughts on the meaning of such a remembrance in wartime and the injustice of the war being waged against them by the North.

The soldiers listened politely.

When the chaplain finished his talk, Early stood up and announced that General Ewell was gone on sick leave for his old wound, and that he would be in command of Second Corps until Ewell came back. He said that they would be attached for now to corps headquarters.

You could see from the soldiers’ faces that they were not sure if that was good or bad.

The priest offered to say Mass if there were Catholics present. A number raised their hands and he moved off to a corner of the barn with them.  Balthazar asked Early if he wished to attend the service. After a moments thought, the general shrugged and said he could not see any reason not to do so. "After all," he said, "the Pope has taken note of us."  After Mass, the Jesuit asked if Balthazar wished him to hear his confession.  The answer was no.

A courier came at four o'clock the next morning with the news that Meade was across the Rapidan, and marching southeast through the Wilderness.

Balthazar had found among his men a soldier who had been a bugler in a regular U.S. cavalry regiment. "Reveille" sounded sweet and compelling in the darkness of the camp."

Pat Lang

 

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66 Responses to Thanksgiving in the Field – 1863 from “Death Piled Hard” reposted 2020

  1. Leila says:

    You’re writing a cycle of novels? Good for you! Hope to see them in print very soon.

  2. taters says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Col. Lang, thank you for posting this.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  3. Larry K says:

    This excerpt is very promising. You’ve got a lovely command of prose rhythm and the ability to shape mood without pointing. When do you expect any of this will be published?

  4. C.M. Mayo says:

    Thanks — this was fun to read– & happy Thanksgiving. Curiously, I spent the day writing about the French in Mexico, roughly the same period. Good luck with your novels.

  5. will says:

    didn”t see any of them in Amazon but saw quite a few refs to w. patrick lang in other’s books.
    amazon has a feature where you can look at excerpts in books. quite a few coloroful quotes. the col. speaks quite directly.

  6. Mt says:

    Col – Great snippet, I really enjoy the premise of the Balthazar character (Did he serve in the Foreign Legion in Africa by any chance?). Be sure to let us know when this goes to print!

  7. Maureen Lang says:

    Wonderful post, Pat. The final draft of the 2nd novel in the cycle that you recently sent me are a wonder, too.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  8. Maureen Lang says:

    You’d think a former lit. teacher could at least proof her comment for subject/verb agreement (hurriedly leaving to go out to lunch with your neice is NOT a good excuse). Completed reading that draft yesterday & it “is” an absolute wonder.
    Looking forward to another Keith Rocco cover for it…..?

  9. OK I’m getting off my duff to order this for my own Christmas present. Culpepper, Lynchburg – these are towns I know, my mother’s ancestral turf. Beautiful spare language. I look forward to reading these this Christmas.
    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

  10. Patrick Lang says:

    Maureen
    Thanks again. I am going ove it again. Never happy with the text… An author’s disease. Yes. I have arranged to use another of Rocco’s paintings, the one above that shows a Union army regimental band in camp. I like to think of it as representing a scene in camp just before the copening of the Overland Campaign.
    Leila
    Thank you. pl

  11. Sebastien says:

    My greetings, Sir.
    As a Frenchman (and I preemptively apologize for any linguistic mangle I could make), I am interested by your choice of a compatriot, even a fictional one, as a protagonist. “Battle Cry of Freedom” by MacPherson, quite the only reference book on the civil War having reached our shores, doesn’t mention anything of the sort.
    In any case, after enjoying your informed comments for the last months, it is extremely pleasant to enjoy as well your writing skills.
    I wish you and all the commenters a happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    All
    Someone here chsracterized the Jamestown Massacre of 1622 as a legitimate reaction to foreign invasion, etc. Such a description is of course anchronistic since the Indians did not think of themselves as a “people” defending a national territory. More importantly, I think it is wrong to ever justify mayhem wrough upon civilian populations on the basis of some “higher good.” Most of you would not justify settler outrages in that way, (advance of civilization, reprisal, etc.) You should not justify Indian outrages. Murder is murder no matter who commits it. The same thing applies to events of the present day. The US and NATO have used far too much aerial firepower in places like Afghanistan. As a result we are seeing Karzaidemand and end to that and an end to the war. That does no tmean that I am in favor of denying fire support to troops actually in contsct in a fire fight. Some judgment must be employed in this. pl

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    Sebastien
    Bienvenue chez les Anglo-Saxons.
    John Balthazar’s true name is Jean-Marie Balthazar d’Orgueil. He is a cousin of the Devereux family whose story is the river that flows through the books, including the first one. Balthazar is of the Army of Africa having spent much of his life with Tirailleurs Algeriens and Zouaves.
    He is from the vicinity of Soturac in the Departement du Lot. His family’s history is well known in those parts. His provenance is thoroughly described in this book if I can manage to get it done.
    The Jesuit is an actual personage, one Hippolyte Gache, S.J. who did work in the Confederate hospital conplex in Lynchburg, Virgina. pl

  14. Mad Dogs says:

    Merry Thanksgiving Pat, Maureen and all the other happy campers at SST!
    May your belts always be expandable and your recliners inclined to the great deity TV!
    And thanks for the peek at your 2nd of this collection.
    Reminds me in some ways of Louis L’Amour’s works for the texture and the times.
    As I’ve just completed re-reading L’Amour’s entire collection for the nth time (started in the service and couldn’t quit), I enjoy both the historical aspects as well as the narrative.
    As I’ve aged, it has struck me more and more, just how little actual time has passed from that great American Tragedy, the War between the States, and my own life.
    And the baggage we all still carry though many are unknowing, and perhaps worse, uncaring.
    If you ever need an additional proofreader, twould volunteer in an instant!

  15. Rhonda Hohmann says:

    Thank you Col. Lang, I appreciate this blog site…excellent.
    rh

  16. Sebastien says:

    My thanks for your welcome, Sir.
    Are there books you would suggest on the American Civil War ? As I mentioned in my first post, “Battle Cry of Freedom” is the only notable one translated in French as far as I know, but I am a regular customer of a W.H.Smith import store (in fact, I’m thinking of buying “Battle Cry of Freedom” in the original language).
    My thanks in advance.

  17. Patrick Lang says:

    Sebastien
    We had Thanksgiving dinner last night in a little place here in Alexandria. It is the “Bistro Lafayette,” a most excellent touch of France in this town. They have a website.
    I would read; “The Civil War, a Narrative,” by Shelby Foote, “The Killer Angels,” by Michael Sharaa, and you might have a go at my own novel, “The Butcher’s Cleaver.”
    Foote wrote extraordinarily well. “Limpid prose” is not an exageration in his case. He was both a novelist and a historian. His book is in three volumes and may have been translated. I am quite sure that Sharaa’s Pulitzer prize novel has been translated. These are both in print and could be had at WH Smith. pl

  18. Before “Battle Cry of Freedom” did any substantial histories of the Civil War (WBS) mention the impact of black soldiers on North and South and the ultimate result?

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    WRC
    There has always been a lot of mention of everything in that most documented of wars. Things are not “discovered.” They are merely remembered.
    I don’t think that
    black troops in the Union army affected the outcome very much.
    They were principally used for other than assault duties and often were relegated to guarding supply lines and the like. They were useful in freeing up white units for the butcher’s work. The 54th Massachusetts’ attack on Battery Wagner is a notable exception as was the Chaffin’s Farm Battle east of Richmond in 1864. The Crater battle at Petersburg was, of course, a horrible debacle for them in which Billy Mahone’s division counterattacked, massacred them in the crater itself and then shot a lot of prisoners on the spot. Interestingly, he was a Republican governor of Virginia after the war. The CG of the Black division in the Crater was a man named Ferraro or some such who was cowering in a bunker behind the lines while Mahone’s wild men did them in. He should have been cashiered but was not. He was in fact promoted to Brevet Major General, USV. He was a Republican loyalist.
    Confederate use of both free and slave Black auxiliaries is more rarely mentioned. It seems to have been taken for granted by the Confederates at the time. At Chaffin’s Farm, Porter Alexander mentions in his memoirs that Confederate teamsters, cooks etc, pushed white soldiers out of the way to get the chance to shoot at Black Union Army troops, yelling “traitor” at them all the while.
    After the war there were Black members of the UCV. There are a lot of photos of them at conventions and the former Confederate states paid them pensions. I don’t suppose McPherson says much about them…
    Man – “the glory, jest and riddle of the world.” pl

  20. A lot of American Chestnuts in the Eastern Forests during the civil war. Perhaps the most common tree before the chestnut blight of the early 20th Century. Great for the carvers on both sides in the war.

  21. CK says:

    When I was young, I started reading a novel cycle by Gordon R. Dickson. Dickson passed before he could finish the cycle he planned. Given your previous appreciations of the harder science fiction, I suggest you might find this cycle respectable. The Childe Cycle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childe_Cycle . The first published book in the cycle, Dorsai, lost out to Starship Troopers by Heinlein for the 1960 Hugo.

  22. The Twisted Genius says:

    The Thanksgiving meal is a special occasion in the Army as all us old soldiers know. It is a time when us officers donned our dress whites (at least in the 25th Infantry Division) and spent time with the troops in the mess hall.
    Stafford was the winter quarters of the Union Army that bloodied at Fredericksburg in 1862. There were more Union troops in Stafford that winter than there are Stafford residents today. The small soldier towns that so amazed Balthazar also sprang up in Stafford although the inhabitants wore blue rather than butternut and grey. These soldier towns are depicted in our White Oak Civil War Museum and our new Civil War Park.
    http://www.whiteoakmuseum.com
    http://www.fscws.org/Index.html

  23. Mark says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

  24. Charles I says:

    um, so how is Lola this Thanksgiving anyway?

  25. Charles I says:

    oh yeah now I recall (I imagine, may be completely wrong) but setting up this camp in the cold was complicated by the fact that all the loose bits of metal one might glom onto had long since been shot at the enemy, wasn’t that detail in the book or am I just addled as usual?

  26. optimax says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. I’m happy and full.

  27. The Twisted Genius says:

    Ah, now I know why I have such an affinity for Balthazar. Early in my time as a rifle platoon leader, I dealt rather successfully with a rehab transfer from another battalion. These rehab transfers were soldiers that would otherwise have been drummed out of the Army for various reasons. He quickly became a model soldier. My platoon became the repository for most rehab transfers from other battalions in the brigade. These soldiers and the rest of my platoon proved skillful and had far greater initiative than most other platoons… at least in the field. Those same traits were the source of frequent headaches in garrison. I’d like to think I’d do well in Balthazar’s battalion full of men nobody else knows what to do with.

  28. turcopolier says:

    All
    John Balthazar is the perfect soldier. There are always a few leaders who are adept at making instruments of war of human metal that nobody else wants. In the end the men in Balthazar’s battalion pay the ultimate price for their faith in him and the symbol of possible salvation that he is and what they see in him as a chance to be something better, grander and larger than they think themselves to be. It is a price they expect to pay. Devereux pays a different price for his faith. Lola seems well. I fear to speak of it. pl

  29. oofda says:

    About twenty years ago, I built a house at Falmouth,VA, across the river from Fredricksburg. The location of our home was where the Union Army was encamped during the campaign. In the woods next to our lot, you could see depressions in the ground where the Union Army troops had built their cabins and ‘houses’. There was also a depressed track in the woods were a road had been. Searchers with metal detectors could find pits where rubbish had been deposited- and get buttons, uniform articles and parts of weapons and equipment. The Army’s great need for wood had been such that the thick forest in the Falmouth area had been denuded of trees. Today, the woods are a pale reminder of what had been before.

  30. turcopolier says:

    oofda
    There is a scene in TBC in which Devereux and a Yankee minister who is a Sanitary Commission official are fired at or near in Falmouth by Confederate sharpshooters in Fredericksburg. They are in civilian clothes and lost. Claude gets out of their carriage and waves his handkerchief at the hidden men across the river. The glass eye of a telescopic sight twinkles at him, and then someone comes out of a basement to wave back. Rejoining the terrified civilian in the carriage Devereux says that the Rebels will not shoot again. He laughs and says, “it was their idea of a joke.” pl

  31. Charles I says:

    Say no more, I almost didn’t ask, but hard not to care for you & yours.

  32. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang,
    “Some judgement must be employed in this .”
    Do you believe the Dresden firebombing & the Hiroshima nuclear bombing were sound judgements in the use of aerial firepower during WW 2 ? This is an interesting & troubling question to ponder – my Dad was to have been deployed on a “jeep ” aircraft , most likely headed for the invasion of Japan . I have read & heard first hand accounts that the Okinawa & Saipan campaigns – with their respective mass carnage would have been “walks in the park ” compared to actually taking the Japanese Home Islands by force . And objectively were the mass murders of civilians in Nanking by the Japanese military anymore brutal then the mass murder of the Dresden population ?

  33. Alba Etie says:

    One of the many reasons why I visit SST regularly is that there are may commentators from many different places here – consequently I learn a great deal . I am reminded this Thanksgiving that myself and one of my in law relatives had a heated falling out in the run up to the Bush Jr’s Iraqi Occupation at that year’s Thanksgiving . My relative was making unkind remarks about the French not supporting the Bushcheney Iraqi campaign – some nonsense about freedom fries etc. I did remind that neocon relative without the French Navy at Yorktown there would be no USA now. These days we do not speak at the Thanksgiving table about foreign misadventures.

  34. turcopolier says:

    AE
    You might suggest to that man that he visit the French military cemetery out in the woods at Yorktown. pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    AE
    IMO the deliberate killing of defenseless civilians in war is indefensible however expedient it may be. Lemay’s fire attacks on Tokyo and other Japanese cities were murderous and killed hundreds of thousands. In Europe the USAAF bomber forces persisted in daylight attacks against military and industrial targets rather than attacking whole cities at night as did RAF Bomber Command. The cost to USAAF was terribly high. 8th US Air Force lost mor emen killed than the whole USMC in the entire war. nevertheless, I think the American policy was justified. pl

  36. Alba Etie says:

    Yes -and visit with flowers too . If I recall you once said it was two night engagements that the French Soldiers helped the Colonials win the day at Yorktown . I will need to ask my Dad -but I think we visited that cemetery the year we went on the road trip to Williamsburg . Mom was very keen on History & Civics . Fond memories of the Crown Vic Station Wagon – it was quite the treat to ride in the back facing seat with the rear window down ..

  37. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    I would agree that the deliberate killing of civilians is indefensible.

  38. confusedponderer says:

    A happy thanksgiving to you all,
    best,
    CP

  39. Jim Ticehurst says:

    Enjoyable to Read Well Written Happy Thanksgiving to All As We Remember the Events for which we Give Thanks..

  40. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  41. Charles I says:

    Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you all.

  42. A happy Thanksgiving to all.
    David Habakkuk

  43. Nancy K says:

    Col Lang
    Happy Thanksgiving. One of the things I am thankful for is SST. Thank you.

  44. Dave says:

    Sir, Thank you for this blog, as I have learned so much over the last 10+ years. I am long time reader and share many of your foreign policy perspectives, especially as they relate to the Middle East and Lebanon, but I can no longer visit here due to the abject nonsense posted on this site. Of course, we are all entitled to our opinions, but I can no longer “learn” here so I say goodbye. Thanks, sincerely, and best wishes to those readers who have learned so much along with me. I can only speak for some, or perhaps many, of the others when I notice that you, our host, is very much without compare in terms of his experience/insight/knowledge. Your willingness to share the same is an underserved gift. Thank you, verily. Happy Thanksgiving to you, all readers and especially those overseas. Best, and goodbye.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Dave
    Pls be more specific about the abject nonsense.

  46. Leith says:

    Good to see General Milley visiting the troops in Baghdad today. Maybe he’ll be in Kabul tomorrow for Turkey and trimmings?

  47. catherine says:

    Hear Hear..well said ..Bravo

  48. Jack says:

    Happy Thanksgiving 🦃
    The brood have arrived and the decibel level is through the roof. My granddaughter and I are doing the cooking tomorrow.
    Cheers 🥂

  49. harry says:

    I think a reasonable person would agree that Hiroshima was a reasonable use of aerial firepower. Its not so clear in the case of Dresden. Worth noting that neither forced the capitulation of the respective states. In the case of Japan, it was the invasion of Manchuria by the Soviet Union which cut off the supply of rice to Japan, that forced capitulation. If the Russians had invaded before Japan might have been spared the nuclear weapons. Either way, the casualties were much higher than expected because of the absence of air raid warnings

  50. harry says:

    Fascinating. Thank you.

  51. Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow correspondents. I’m taking a day off from my housewrighting to cook a meal for my family and heal the wounds of the trade. It was a serendipitous coincidence when soon after I read Colonel Lang’s account of Thanksgiving in the field, I also received a Thanksgiving greeting from RPI referring to Thanksgiving and the Civil War. Here’s the pertinent passage.
    “While the early history of Thanksgiving in the United States is well known — including the celebration in 1621 of the Pilgrims’ first harvest in the New World, alongside the Native Americans who had taught them survival skills — what is less well known is that Thanksgiving was celebrated only intermittently until the Civil War. In 1863, after several important victories by the Union Army, President Abraham Lincoln established a national precedent that continues today, by proclaiming that the last Thursday in November be set apart for all Americans to celebrate the country’s bounties and blessings. Although President Lincoln originally delineated the observance to be on the last Thursday of November, the date of celebration was changed by Congressional resolution, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in December 1941, to the fourth Thursday in November.
” 
    “The remarkable proclamation, which is believed to have been drafted by Secretary of State William Seward, acknowledges the suffering caused by the Civil War. However, it also recognizes “fruitful fields and healthful skies,” the peace preserved with other nations despite internal strife that they might have seen as an invitation to aggression, the progress of industry despite the costs of war, the increase of the population despite the wasted lives on the battlefield, and the expectation, despite the nation’s wounds, of a “large increase of freedom.” In its enumeration of reasons to be grateful amidst turmoil, it is inspirational.”
    As I commented several years ago, Thanksgiving is a special time for soldiers. It’s when we officers don our dress blues, or whites in my time with the 35th Infantry, and man the mess hall chow line to serve the Thanksgiving meal to our troops. I would not be at all surprised if much of our current Thanksgiving emotions and customs are rooted in the experiences of generations of soldiers.
    Another note on Civil War soldier towns here in Stafford. We lost a treasure this year in our county. D.P. Newton, founder and curator of the White Oak Civil War Museum passed away after a two year fight with cancer. He was the most knowledgeable gentleman there was concerning the soldier towns of Stafford.
    https://www.fredericksburg.com/news/d-p-newton-curator-of-the-white-oak-civil-war/article_245aa667-10b1-5883-92c9-53b13aa144c9.html

  52. Looks like ole Jeff beat ole Abe to the punch.
    “…Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, do issue this, my proclamation, setting apart Thursday, the 18th day of September inst., as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God for the great mercies vouchsafed to our people, and more especially for the triumph of our arms at Richmond and Manassas; and I do hereby invite the people of the Confederate States to meet on that day at their respective places of public worship, and to unite in rendering thanks and praise to God for these great mercies, and to implore Him to conduct our country safely through the perils which surround us, to the final attainment of the blessings of peace and security. Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Richmond, this fourth day of September, A.D. 1862”

  53. Looking forward to seeing the book published. It will have the feel of the times, and all the right details of the times, which these days is not that common with historical novels. It might be my imagination but I also found in the extract that haunting sense of something lost that should not have been lost, which marks your other writing on the subject.
    The extract set me to looking what lessons the European observers took away from that war. The war was the first in which railways played an important part, apart for the Crimean war in which it was found necessary to lay a shortish stretch of railway to the front line to get much needed supplies up. The First World War can properly be called a railway war, so important were lines of various gauges for logistics. Perhaps not so much the Civil war. The Confederate railway lines at least were not best placed. So perhaps the European observers didn’t learn that much useful about logistics. Did they learn anything else?
    Grubbing around I found one observation about that war that wasn’t to do with logistics or ways of using formations. It was a brief observation to the effect that the real driver of the war was a group of Northern industrialists who had great influence on Lincoln and his administration. Does that sound right?

  54. turcopolier says:

    EO
    “Death Piled Hard” is available for sale. All three books in the trilogy are available. “Something lost?” With the fall of Virginia’s government to alien political control, what was lost is finally and forever lost. the foreign observers were here to judge the chances of confederate survival.

  55. Stupid of me, Colonel. Only saw later that it was part of the trilogy, which I must get. The historical novel sequence I’ve gone in for has been the O’Brien sequence, which I seem to remember you also like. Though sometimes O’Brien goes gloomy, and for very long periods. Hope you don’t.
    What was haunting was “Something was lost ..” , written a while ago of Picketts Charge, that presaging the eventual losing of the war. Though just what was lost must be difficult to define.

  56. turcopolier says:

    EO
    What was lost was the possibility of strictly limited self government to the taste of the governed.

  57. Leith says:

    Regarding Roosevelt: He politicked for three years to move Thanksgiving Holiday to the third Thursday in November. But he finally conceded in 1941 and signed the Bill officially making it the fourth Thursday.
    And I recall an elementary school teacher telling us 70 or so years ago that a National Thanksgiving Day was established by Congress after the victory at Saratoga in 1777. Must have been the Continental Congress, which is why it did not end up as intermittent for so many years.

  58. artemesia says:

    “What was lost,” and your earlier reply to my lament — “Watch what happens now as the whole commonwealth of Virginia is subjected to “sensitivity training” by the radicals ” things, ineffable things are still being lost.
    The geography itself is changing.
    My first trip south of Arlington was to take my sons to camp in Gainesville. It was wide open country in the mid-90s; now, bedroom suburbs for DC.
    I still enjoy the drive through Culpeper and into Madison County, and when Florida is my destination, Rt. 29 is my route — not all is lost.
    The excerpt you posted is seductive. Can one purchase your trilogy directly from you? I prefer to avoid Amazon.

  59. turcopolier says:

    Artemesia
    You can buy them from Barnes and Noble or iUniverse.

  60. Linda says:

    Thank you for posting Happy Thanksgiving

  61. AndreL says:

    Col.
    Your re-post of “Thanksgiving in the Field” and mention of Rappahannock Station brought to mind my Great-Great Grandfather’s capture at that place after the sacrifice of his regiment in hopeless defense of the bridgehead. He spent the rest of the war in the not-too comfortable confines of Johnson Island Prison. I will have to read your novel some day.
    I truly enjoy checking in periodically on your blog since I think you have a unique point of view based upon your professional experience in service of our country. I don’t always concur with the opinions expressed and I have no problem ignoring some of the wilder posts made by some of your regular featured commentators, especially the gentleman who recently accosted me by a direct, ad hominem, and vitriolic email for what I thought was a pretty innocuous comment on my part aimed at his opinion piece. Anyway, I considered it a humorous experience and chalk it up to his wearing his tin hat too close to the microwave.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Better days must lie ahead.
    AndreL
    AndreL

  62. turcopolier says:

    AndreL
    Don’t bother It can’t be very good. I wrote it. Nevertheless, this book, “Death piled hard.” contains an account of Rappahannock Station. Was your great grandfather in one of the Pelican regiments? He must have been an officer if he was sent to Johnson’s Island.

  63. Anthony Bell says:

    There was a British Army officer, Lt. Col. Arthur Lyon Fremantle, who fought in Africa and did come to the U.S. in 1863 to observe the American Civil War. He was freelancing. He was so impressed General Robert E. Lee and Lee’s high command that he became a Confederate sympathizer. Fremantle traveled from Texas to northern Virginia observing and recording campaigns. I have his book.
    But I like the idea of a French officer as my two biggest heroes are French— St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (I have a 2nd-class and 3rd-class relic of the latter). https://www.ncregister.com/blog/french-soldiers-tell-how-st-therese-helped-and-protected-them-in-world-war-i

  64. turcopolier says:

    Anthony Bell
    Fremantle is an interesting man. He said of Lee’s infantry that they were “God’s finest creatures.” He makes an appearance in my novel “The Butcher’s Cleaver.”

  65. turcopolier says:

    All
    “Death Piled Hard” is entirely my work.

  66. turcopolier says:

    AndreiL
    I am uninterested in whether or not you agree with material posted. If some of the guest authors want to fight with you that is their business and yours.

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