Story Background

This is written by Beverly, my author.

WHY I DECIDED TO WRITE CAVES, CANNONS, AND CRINOLINES

One summer, my husband and I visited the small town of Vicksburg, MS, sitting on a hill high above the Mississippi River. The Civil War is my favorite time period in history, and we’ve visited several battlefields, museums, and parks dedicated to the brave men and women who fought in the war and sometimes gave their lives. I fell in love with the town.

We toured Victorian homes that were standing during the war. The guides told us fascinating stories about the families that lived in those houses. I wish I had time and space to share them with you. We went to the Old Courthouse overlooking the river of today as it once overlooked the ironclads that fought in the waters. The courthouse is now a museum. Wandering through the displays of old furniture, clothing, and uniforms brought the period alive. I bought books and newspapers from the time. I listened to stories of how the people fled to caves they’d had dug behind their homes to escape the cannon shells that rained down on the city sometimes night and day. How the Federal army cut off the city from the rest of the world. Supplies ran low. No food or medicine or ammunition for the soldiers. And I thought, I have to write the story of the brave men, women, and children who fought their own battle while their sons and husbands were fighting theirs.

The Stamford family is fictional though their life is loosely based on some of the journals and books I read. I wanted to show both sides of the war and hope that I succeeded. If you enjoy historical stories, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my novel and share Lizzie’s joys, her sorrows, her courage and also the times she’s simply human and her courage fails her. Many of you have ancestors who fought, lived, and even died standing up for their beliefs.

Thank you.

Beverly  

MY BROTHERS

JOSEPH

My oldest brother,  Joseph, is a lot like Papa. Tall, fair hair, quiet, the total opposite of Willie. Joseph is 18. He is peace-loving, hates violence. He only joined the army to watch over Willie, the impetuous brother. I cannot see Joseph harming anyone.

Joseph is an artist. He can look at an object and draw it precisely. Nat will have him sketch the plans for Nat’s air machine. When this war is over. And someday, they may fly to the stars. When my brothers put their heads together, anything is possible.

Sometimes, though, I wish for a sister, someone to talk with, to share my secrets with. My brothers have each other. I have Mama, of course, and Aunt Lois, but some things you simply do not discuss with parents and other older people. Some things only a girl my age would understand.

I love my brothers and pray for the safe return of Willie and Joseph.

WILLIE

My brother Willie is away in Virginia, fighting to end this war. I miss him terribly. Willie is the mischievous one in the family, always in trouble of some kind. He’s 16 and daring and brave and sometimes foolhardy (Mama’s words). He’s gentle too, and kind. I love him. We have a favorite tree in our yard that we climb and sit there, among the branches, talking, teasing each other.

I pray God will bring him safely home. And that we’ll have peace again. Is that too much to ask?

NATHAN

Nat is my younger brother. He’s 14 and very smart. He lives in a world of his own. At least he did before the Federal army invaded our city. His hands carve beautiful works of art out of wood. Our story mentions some of them. Not only is he artistic, but he knows everything about the heavens. He plans to build a flying machine some day and go to the moon. Imagine that. But knowing Nat, it’s very likely he will.

Nat is a gentle soul. The war confuses him. He doesn’t understand why men kill each other. Neither do I. The war does terrible things to Nat. He sees things he should not see. But he is brave and faces them. He tries to help me too, though we often disagree.

Now you know a little about Nat. My book will tell you much more.