History of JOB'S COFFIN

On April 12, 1864—a blustery, wet Tuesday—as the American Civil War was entering its final, bloodiest stage, Confederate forces under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked to capture a backwater outpost on the banks of the Mississippi River in Tennessee called Fort Pillow.  What followed was less battle than slaughter as Forrest’s men massacred the Union soldiers defending the fort—many of them black recruits newly emancipated, newly free, new to the idea they belonged to no one but themselves—as they tried to surrender.  The “battle” caused a public uproar that was quickly overshadowed by the apocalyptic events of the opening of Grant’s campaign in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, Hood and Sherman struggling for Atlanta, and the long, weary siege of Petersburg. 

 

This is the history that my new novel, JOB’S COFFIN (Le Cercueil de Job) grapples with. 

 

For those interested in digging deeper into the history, I urge caution as many published studies are partisan in one way or another (usually in their glorifications of General Forrest’s career), but one invaluable resource is Andrew Ward’s, RIVER RUN RED: FORT PILLOW in the AMERICAN CIVIL WAR.

RIVER RUN RED | Kirkus Reviews

Fort Pillow State Park — Tennessee State Parks (tnstateparks.com)

Battle of Fort Pillow - Wikipedia

History of WILDERNESS

 

The American Civil War Battle of the Wilderness was fought on May 5 and 6, 1864 in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania Country, Virginia.  The battle marked the opening of what would become known as the Overland Campaign and was the first clash between the pre-eminent generals of either side: Robert E. Lee for the  Confederates and Ulysses S. Grant for the Union.


The Civil War remembrances of Abel Truman in WILDERNESS treat, in part, with the opening clash of this opening campaign in a little place of cleared land known as Saunders’ Field.

For additional information about the Battle of the Wilderness please utilize the following links

Civil War Preservation Trust: Battle of The Wilderness 

Civil War Preservation Trust video Battle of the Wilderness: Saunders Field 

Click on the image to the right for a larger map and more information

History of AMERICAN MARCHLANDS

In the 1840s, America was still in the process of finding its way westward.  As settlers pushed restlessly toward California, the idea of the Manifest Destiny of the United States to rule the continent at the forefront of their thoughts, they came into constant contact and conflict with not only the Native tribes already there, but also with the Mexican Government.  The history of the era AMERICAN MARCHLANDS is set in is as vast and confusing and as it is varied and deep.  A few good books to get you started are:

THE YEAR OF DECISION 1846 by Bernard DeVoto

BLACK HAWK: THE BATTLE FOR THE HEAR OF AMERICA BY Kerry A Trask

DONIPHAN'S EPIC MARCH: THE 1ST MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS IN THE MEXICAN WAR by Joseph C Dawson III

THE OREGON TRAIL by Francis Parkman