Announcing a New "Boxed " Set of My Favorite Books
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Announcing a New "Boxed " Set of My Favorite Books

The Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country


This "boxed" set is a value-priced collection of biographical stories about the people history books forget -- families, children, abandoned slaves, missionaries and teachers, spies, ordinary soldiers and government tax collectors, greedy cotton agents and land speculators. All are real people; all of them lived through historical events we only read about.

In November 1861, the Union Navy set out with a fleet of 88 ships and 12,000 ground troops to capture a large harbor somewhere in South Carolina. They were looking for a broad expanse of water that could be used to repair and re-supply the ships of the Atlantic Blockade. They found that Port Royal Sound, just off the coast of Hilton Head Island, suited all of their requirements. The sheet of water was too wide for shore guns to fire across, and it was guarded by only two small forts manned by fewer than 200 men. The naval forces opened fire on those forts on the morning of November 7th, and by 2:00 pm, the Confederate troops had struck their colors and fled for the safety of Charleston. Hot on their heels were the civilian plantation owners. They abandoned cotton crops, homes, and slaves in their haste to take their families to safety. Some 10,000 slaves now found themselves without protection and occupying an uncomfortable gray status between freedom and slavery. These are the stories of some of the unknown people whose lives were forever changed by the events of November 7, 1861.

"A Scratch with the Rebels" tells the stories of two ordinary soldiers. One was a backwoods Pennsylvania farm boy named James McCaskey; the other, a college student named Augustine Smythe, from an aristocratic family in South Carolina. Both were of Scotch-Irish descent, Presbyterian by faith and conviction, and first-generation Americans. They entered the service of their respective armies on the same day, served in the Sea Islands of South Carolina, and met only once -- in a battle from which only one would survive.

"Beyond All Price" picks up the story of a nurse in the 100th Pennsylvania Regiment, more familiarly known as The Roundhead Regiment. Nellie Chase was an abused wife who sought the protection of James McCaskey and his comrades because life in the midst of war seemed safer than life with a drunken gambler on the run from the law. Her story reveals a side of the Civil War that historians seldom talk about.

"The Road to Frogmore" introduces the band of teachers and missionaries who came to the Low Country of South Carolina to bring education and medical care to those 10,000 abandoned slaves left behind when their masters fled from the Union forces. The book concentrates on the role of Laura Towne, who came to offer medical care for slave children and then spent the rest of her life -- some 40 years -- establishing schools to give them the education they would need to make use of their new freedom.

"Left by the Side of the Road" is a book of short stories. Their characters are fascinating individuals -- soldiers, slaves, well-intentioned women, spies, tax collectors, and greedy cotton agents. They all play a role in the changing economic landscape of South Carolina, but for one reason or another, their small stories did not fit into the longer sagas of this series on "The Civil War in South Carolina's Low Country."

Official launch date is November 15, 2014. Pre-orders will be available soon at Barnes and Noble Nook Books, Apple iBooks, and Kobo electronic editions. Pre-publication price will be $6.00 for an electronic edition that contains all four books. A Kindle pre-order is also in the works. Stay tuned!