Friday, July 3, 2009
July 4th, a Day to Reminisce
I'm proud of my country, and I always spend the 4th of July enjoying my country and the people. On July 4, I like to dwell on the good points.
As a historical romance writer I enjoy researching for my stories. While researching Texas history around the time of the Civil War in preparation to write my novella, "Are You Going to the Dance?" I found some interesting tidbits.
To begin with, two-thirds of the Texans in the Confederate army were enlisted in the cavalry. In an article, "Civil War," by Ralph A. Wooster, published in The Handbook of Texas Online, he quotes Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of the British Coldstream Guards who said of the Texans' fondness for the cavalry, "It was found very difficult to raise infantry in Texas, as no Texan walks a yard if he can help it." And Governor Clark is quoted as saying that "the predilection of Texans for cavalry service, founded as it is upon their peerless horsemanship, is so powerful that they are unwilling in many instances to engage in service of any other description unless required by actual necessity."
In "Are You Going to the Dance?" the hero of the story is the leader of a mounted militia unit in charge of protecting the people of the town where he lives. This brings up another point. Not all men in Texas were required to join the Confederate army.
My great great grandfather and many people in the German communities of the Texas Hill Country believed in preserving the Union. My great great grandfather came to Texas from Holland to make a home in a land where he believed he could have a better life. He raised mules and took them north to the Union Army. If he had been caught by the Confederate army, he could have been shot. In his article Wooster relates instances in which Union sympathizers were shot or hanged in Texas. One such incident is referred to as the Great Hanging at Gainesville. My great great grandfather's town voted to form local militia units rather than send men to the Confederate army. His son joined the local militia unit and took part in protecting their own town.
There are many battles both on land and sea mentioned in Wooster's article. The Battle of Galveston in 1862 is one. For writers, most of the battles provide amazing conflict and background for fictional characters of those times.
He also mentions how people lived during the blockade imposed by the Union Navy: the shortage of material and paper, coffee, medicine, daily provisions, and the need to grow more corn. With most of the Texas men in the Confederate army spread out across the country, from the Rio Grande to Kentucky and North Carolina, their wives and mothers struggled to take care of their homes, farms and businesses.
The officers, who led those men during the Civil War, continued to be leaders in Texas, New Mexico, and other states at the end of the war and in years following. Some of their descendants are people I know or have known in my town.
In the anthology, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, the stories take place during and after the Civil War in many different places.
As described on The Wild Rose Press web site, "In a country torn asunder--from the Canadian border to Texas, from Maryland to Arkansas, from the battlefield of Antietam to the Red River Campaign--brave men and loyal women see their lives turned upside down. Peril lurks behind every tree and near every homestead, but the hard-fought love of a man and a woman surpasses all. Six talented writers provide stories of romance and danger centering on Union and Confederate soldiers, spies, blockade runners, renegades, and battlefield nurses during a period of corsets, hoop skirts, and gentlemen callers."
Offered by The Wild Rose Press, the anthology will be available soon on July 31! Please visit my web site at www.JeanmarieHamilton.com for an excerpt of "Are You Going to the Dance?"
Have a safe and Happy 4th of July. :-)