I've just spent the better part of the day organizing -- and re-organizing -- and re-ordering -- and re-thinking the website I'm setting up for the up-coming Book Launch Party for Beyond All Price. I know how I want the site to work, but sometimes the mechanics of setting it all up overwhelm me. I'm a "seat-of-the-pants pilot" when it comes to computers. Manuals and instruction books are gibberish. I have to get in and push the keys till something works. It usually turns out all right in the end. But the process of reaching the end can be hair-raising.
I'm consoling myself by thinking about the Roundhead Regiment again, and the frustrations they felt 101 years go today. The first shock came yesterday, when they discovered that no one had thought to make arrangements to feed them. There simply WAS no breakfast. After a good deal of milling about and listening to their officers argue about whose fault it was, they were simply dismissed and sent into town to get breakfast any way they could. By evening, the situation had been taken care of, but not before the men had raided more than a few local gardens and hen houses.
Second, the men thought they had been sworn into the Union army at a ceremony on August 29th. But something had gone wrong there, too. They had to re-assemble and re-swear their oaths on August 31st. Some soldiers speculated that somebody was a bit suspicious of them, if they had to swear everything twice.
And sometime during these first three days, a tiny young woman presented herself at the camp, asking to see Col. Leasure. Now understand -- by this time there were a full 12 companies of men in the Roundhead Regiment -- nearly 1000 men in all. Faced with that sea of masculinity, Miss Nellie Chase offered to serve the regiment as their "Matron." That term meant exactly what you probably think it did. At the ripe old age of twenty-two, Nellie was offering to be a mother to these 1000 men -- to cook for them, make sure things were kept neat and tidy, and to care of their minor injuries and illnesses.
Did she know what she was doing? Of course not. Nellie was a seat-of-the-pants pilot, too. Would it work out? Well, that's what my new book is all about.