Civil War Stories

Joanna Higgins
Ira Cahill Stevens, a young Union soldier taken captive by Confederates during the Battle of the Wilderness in May of 1864, finds himself fighting a new battle as the novel opens. One waged within the head and heart against "the dead nothingness of despair."
MacKinlay Kantor

"Before there were The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals there was Andersonville. MacKinlay Kantor won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1955 for this novel, an epic account of the notorious prison camp in Macon County, Georgia. Though many of his characters are fictional, many are based on historical figures. Even some of the minor characters who appear as suffering prisoners of war are historical. Writing in the early fifties it was perhaps inevitable that Kantor drew subtle echoes of the Nazi concentration camps as he told this grim story of the greatest of Confederate war crimes. Kantor spent most of his life studying and writing about the Civil War. His emphasis was always on the small-town, ordinary citizens confronted with the horrors of Civil War.'

Robert Olmstead
"When Robey Childs's mother has a premonition about her husband, a soldier fighting in the Civil War, she does the unthinkable. She instructs her only child to retrieve his father from the battlefield and bring him home. Just fourteen and ill-prepared for the journey, Robey sets off wearing the coat his mother sewed to ensure his safety: blue on one side, gray on the other. However, it is the gift of an uncommon horse that changes Robey's destiny--a coal black horse that becomes his only companion, guide, and protector. In the tradition of 'The Red Badge of Courage,' Olmstead has created a brutually honest portrait of what war does to men and how it allows--even compels--them to love what they should hate."
Charles Frazier

A Confederate soldier's trek brings him into intimate and sometimes lethal converse with slaves and marauders, bounty hunters and witches, both helpful and malign, as he makes his way to his home in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Ann McMillan

"Though the War Between the States is in its infancy, Richmond, Virginia, is not free of violent death, as two astute and courageous women from opposite ends of society discover when a grave is robbed, yielding the murdered body of a young slave woman. The silk scarf left carelessly with her body leads to suspects from every echelon of Richmond society -- and to more deaths. Narcissa Powers, a young white widow, begins to investigate and is soon aided by Judah Daniel, a free black herbalist and conjure woman. As the War's casualties begin to pour into the city and the "Dead March" echoes through the streets, the mystery deepens, and Narcissa and Judah must risk their lives to find the killer -- or killers -- and save the life of an innocent child."

Paulette Jiles

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee. The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women's prison.

But young Adair is sustained by a strong heart, and love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and she finds herself reciprocating his feelings in spite of herself. The major vows to return for her when the fighting is over, and before he rejoins the war, he leaves her with a precious gift: freedom. Weakened in body but not in spirit, Adair must now travel alone through dangerous unknown territory - an escaped 'enemy woman' surrounded by perils and misery.

Also available on audio.

Owen Parry

A British immigrant to the United States is hired to serve as a confidential agent to Union General George McClellan and quickly finds himself investigating the death of a Union officer while the Civil War rages all around him

Kirk Mitchell

"A riveting, historically accurate account of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War. This gritty novel of the brutal fight wall chronicles the lives of six Irish-Americans, revealing their sufferings and aspirations in both the Old World and the New World."

Jeff Shaara

"...Jeff Shaara traces the lives, passions, and careers of the great military leaders from the first gathering clouds of the Civil War. Here is Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a hopelessly by-the-book military instructor and devout Christian who becomes the greatest commander of the Civil War; Winfield Scott Hancock, a captain of quartermasters who quickly establishes himself as one of the finest leaders of the Union army; Joshua Chamberlain, who gives up his promising academic career and goes on to become one of the most heroic soldiers in American history; and Robert E. Lee, never believing until too late that a civil war would ever truly come to pass."

 

On Film:
Historical fiction doesn't get any closer to home than this! The Gods and Generals movie is a must see for locals.

Margaret Mitchell

Spoiled Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara never stops loving the married Ashley Wilkes even as she faces the hardships of life during the Civil War and the changes brought about by Reconstruction.
 

Rita Mae Brown

"April 12, 1861. Bright, gutsy and young,Geneva Chatfield marries Nash Hart in Albemarle County, Virginia, the same day Fort Sumter's guns fire the start of the Civil War. Five days later she loses him as Nash joins the Confederate Army. Geneva, who is known as the best rider since Light Horse Harry Lee, cuts her hair, dons a uniform, enlists as 'Jimmy Chatfield,' then rides off to be with her beloved Nash. But sensitive Nash recoils in horror from the violence of war, while Geneva is invigorated by the chase and the fight. Can she be all the man her husband isn't? She'll sure as hell try. But there is a complication, and his name is Major "Mars" Vickers. This macho major, to his own shock and amazement, finds himself inexplicably attracted to the young soldier named 'Jimmy.' And this is only the beginning of a novel that moves with sureness and grace from the ferocity of battle to the struggle on the homefront, and brings passion and sly humor to a story of dawning love."

Donald McCaig

Duncan Gatewood, seventeen and heir to Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off to the Virginia Military Institute—he will eventually fight for Robert E. Lee. Another Gatewood slave, Jesse—whose love for Maggie is unrequited—escapes to find her. Jesse finds his freedom and enlists in Mr. Lincoln’s army; in time he will confront his former masters.

Michael Shaara

"The Battle of Gettysburg was fought for two dreams-- freedom, and a way of life. Memories, promises, and love were carried into the battle but what fell was shattered futures, forgotten innocence, and crippled beauty."

Janet Dailey

The Civil War threatens to destroy the romance between a Harvard-educated Cherokee Indian and the daughter of a Union officer, in a fast-paced novel... .
The sequel to The Proud and the Free.

Gore Vidal

Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal's fictional American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876Empire, Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and The Golden Age.

"It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards. The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee's armies beat at the gates. In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal's portrait of the president is at once intimate and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists."

Part of Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series.

James Reasoner

"...the first novel in The Civil War Battles series based on the Brannon family of Culpeper County, Virginia. This initial volume describes the mood in the South prior to the outbreak of hostilities and follows one of the Brannon sons into the army and onto the scene of the first major battle of the war."

Virginia Beard Morton
"From 1861 to 1865, Culpeper County - located between Washington, D.C. and Richmond - changed hands numerous times and witnessed the movement of more troops than any locale in the nation. The book's characters, based on real soldiers and citizens, relate an authentic day-to-day feel of how it all happened, and the bloodshed and inconceivable privations that they endured. Through this unique Southern vantage point, we gain a perspective of the war rarely seen in traditional history books.

"At the heart of the story are spirited eighteen-year-old Constance Armstrong and her childhood friend, Frank Stringfellow. Constance, strong and intelligent, supports her family by running a bookstore. Two Rebels and a Yankee vie for her affection amidst the chaos of war. Frank, an irrepressible daredevil, becomes a scout and spy for J.E.B. Stuart and undertakes countless hair-raising adventures.

"On and off the battlefield, Marching Through Culpeper exposes the human side of such heroes as John Pelham, J.E.B. Stuart, A.P. Hill, and George Armstrong Custer. This rich tapestry of life in a war-torn community is a story of the human spirit and the power of love."

Michael Kilian

In July 1861, Harrison Grenville Raines investigates the cold-blooded killing of a Union major during the Northern forces' retreat from the Confederates at the Battle of Manassas

Miriam Grace Monfredo
"Basing her Seneca Falls mystery series on actual historical events, Miriam Grace Monfredo has received critical acclaim for her vivid depiction of nineteenth-century America, when women, abolitionists, and other social reformers fought to reshape the nation... In the spring of 1861, only whispers of the Civil War are heard in New York state, until Seneca Falls's librarian Glynis Tryon tries to save an indentured servant girl from a murder charge--and gets tangled in a tapestry of lust, high treason, and legal treachery that brings the stark reality of the growing Civil War close to home..."
John Jakes

When their two sons meet as West Point cadets, the southern, plantation-owning Main family and the industrialist Hazards of Pennsylvania find their lives interlocked, as the nation moves toward Civil War.
Continues with Love and War and Heaven and Hell.

Josephine Humphreys
"In the summer of 1864, the citizens of Robeson County on the banks of the Lumbee River in North Carolina have become pawns in the devastation created by the Civil War. The Indian community, loosely known as Scuffletown, lives in fear of the marauding Union Army but is also hectored by the desperate Home Guard, hell-bent on conscripting the youth into deadly forced labor in the forts and salt works of the Confederacy.

"These are the circumstances under which we meet sixteen-year-old Rhoda Strong, the daughter of a sweetly morose Scotsman and his formidable Lumbee wife. Rhoda is fiercely loyal to her family but is also fiercely in love with young Henry Berry Lowrie, who, although being hunted as an outlaw, is cut of heroic cloth and is, finally, a man whose moral fiber dictates his every move."

Tom Dyja

"At first glance, the storyline of Thomas Dyja's Play for a Kingdom story sounds corny: a Union company from Brooklyn encounters an Alabama company while on picket duty after the Battle of the Wilderness (May, 1864) and proceeds to challenge them to a series of baseball games before all hell breaks loose in Spottsylvania. The first-time novelist, however, has surprises up his sleeve, and the vividly described sporting matches set up a series of betrayals and double crosses which test the camaraderie of the Union soldiers, calling their commitment to the war effort into question."
(Amazon)

Bernard Cornwell
When Richmond landowner Washington Faulconer snatches young Nate Starbuck from the grip of a Yankee-hating mob, Nate is both grateful and awed by his idealistic rescuer. To repay his generosity, he enlists in the Faulconer legion to fight against his home, the North, and against his abolitionist father. When the regiment joins up, ready to march into the ferocious battle at Bull Run, the men are prepared to start a war . . . but they aren't ready for how they--and the nation--will be forever changed by the oaths they have sworn for their beloved South.
Shelby Foote
"This fictional re-creation of the battle of Shiloh in April 1862 fulfills the standard set by his monumental history, conveying both the bloody choreography of two armies and the movements of the combatants' hearts and minds."
Anne Perry

"The year is 1861. The American Civil War has just begun, and London arms dealer Daniel Albertson is becoming a very wealthy man as emissaries from both sides of the conflict rush to purchase his wares. The quiet dinner party held by Albertson and his beautiful wife seems remote indeed from the passions rending America. Yet investigator William Monk and his bride, Hester, sense growing tensions and barely concealed violence in this well-appointed mansion. For two of the guests are Americans, each vying to buy Albertson's armaments. Philo Trace, the Southerner, is both charming and intelligent, but a defender of slavery. Northerner Lyman Breelove is a disturbing blend of political zealot and personal reserve--to whom Albertson's teenage daughter has pledged her heart. Soon Monk and Hester's forebodings are fulfilled. For within this group, one is brutally murdered in a cruel ritualistic fashion, and two others disappear--along with Albertson's entire inventory of weapons."

Howard Bahr
"As John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee literally disappears in a hail of cannon and rifle fire from the Union Army's entrenchments, young rifleman Bushrod Carter vividly imparts the Confederate charge and its deadly consequences. After he is brought to a makeshift hospital, Carter comes under the care of a young southern woman named Anna, who, even in the midst of battle and defeat, manages to find ways to express her love."
Donald Honig
"Barley Newton is cold sober the day he walks down the dusty street in the gold-mining town of Baddock in the Montana Territory. The year is 1870, and Barley knows he couldn't have seen what he just saw: the man who passes him on the street is Major Andrew Pryor.

"But this is impossible! Pryor was Barley's commander in one of the bloodiest of all Civil War battles. And Pryor was killed in battle in 1864, more than five years ago. His body was found and buried.

"So why is Barley so sure it's Pryor he sees in the remote town of Baddock? And, stranger still, why is Barley Newton found dead soon after the mysterious encounter?"

Maan Myers

"Eight men from Kentucky--one barely old enough to shave--have signed a Confederate blood pact. Its code name is Lucifer; its mission is to burn this Yankee town (Manhattan) to the ground."

Miriam Grace Monfredo

Based on an actual event, The Stalking-Horse is set on the eve of the American Civil War. Glynis Tryon's niece, Bronwen, has joined Pinkerton's Detective Agency. While on her first assignment in secessionist Alabama, two of her fellow agents are murdered. When word reaches Seneca Falls that Bronwen is in trouble, Glynis heads south and finds her niece caught in the midst of a diabolical plot designed to strike at the heart of the United States government.

Robert J. Mrazek
After a young Union officer from Maine is terribly wounded in one of the first major battles of the Civil War, he is recruited to serve in the Provost Marshal's office. While handling the paperwork for a routine court martial case, he becomes embroiled in the murder of a beautiful young woman who attended the birthday party of General Joseph Hooker, a notorious playboy. The investigation leads Kit through a series of adventures-both on the battlefield and in intrigue-filled Washington-until he ultimately uncovers a vast criminal conspiracy.
Tom Wicker
"This monumental novel vividly recounts five long days in Virginia in August 1862, when an outnumbered Confederate army delivered a smashing blow to Union forces. From war correspondents, farmers, and slaves to foot soldiers, officers, wives and lovers on both sides of the conflict, Tom Wicker creates a most memorable cast."