Later Status Of WIPs

Here is the status of the various works in progress as of 15 September 2015:

Harper’s Belmont (Nov 1861):  Concept ideas currently holding at 3,500 words.

Harper’s Fort Henry (Feb 1862):  Available as a short story elsewhere on this site.

Harper’s Fort Donelson (Jan-Mar 1862):  To be published by Sundown Press as an ebook and as a paperback.  Release date is 24 September 2015.

Harper’s Rescue (Mar-Apr):  Work continues on the Developmental draft/edits for character and setting development. Plotting draft is complete; work continues on the characterization draft.

Harper’s Shiloh (Apr 1862):  First draft holding at 30,000 words covering the climax and ending. Research continues.



Status of WIPs

Okay.  So, I’ve given up posting while I continue to develop products.  He is the status of some of that work:

Harper’s Belmont (Nov 1861):  Concept ideas currently holding at 3,500 words.

Harper’s Fort Henry (Feb 1862):  Available as a short story elsewhere on this site.

Harper’s Fort Donelson (Jan-Mar 1862):  Being reviewed by potential agent and/or publisher.

Harper’s Rescue (Mar-Apr):  Work continues on the Developmental draft/edits for character and setting development. Currently at Chapter 16 of 39.

Harper’s Shiloh(Apr 1862):  First draft holding at 30,000 words covering the climax and ending. Research continues.




Where Are Your Posts, Sean?

Folks may have noticed a paucity of posts for the past two months.  The cause is that I have been focusing on finishing the draft of Harper’s Rescue.  Hoped to get that done as part of National Novel Writing Month (November) but came up short.  On track to finish it by the end of December.  Tune in to Twitter to keep track of progress.  Probably be back in the blogosphere in January.

Drusilla Chandler and The Young Lady’s Companion Part 2

Our cyberstalk of Drusilla Chandler, b.1838, continues.

The Young Ladys Companion #1I decided to track Drusilla through time.  Perhaps she has living descendants who might be interested in her book?  In the Census of 1870, Drusilla, 32, now lives in Lovell, Maine roughly 90 miles north of Fryeburg,  with her husband and a young son, Frank.  Two doors down lives Drusilla’s older sister Eliza, 41, with two daughters and with the Chandler matriarch, Hannah, 67.  But Eliza is without her husband who has gone ahead to Wisconsin with her brothers.  Living nearby is the widow of her fourth-eldest brother.

In the Census of 1880, Drusilla is still living in Lovell with her husband and three sons.  Her mother lives with them now because her sister has died and the daughters are living with relatives in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Hanna Chandler will die in 1880, after the census is complete.

Records of the Census of 1890 do not exist.  They were destroyed in a fire.

In 1900, Drusilla, now 62, is a widow and her eldest son has become the head of the household in Lovell.  All three of her children are living, with one unmarried son still in the household.  In 1910, Drusilla, 72, is shown now as the head of the household, living with her widowed daughter-in-law.  Two of Drusilla’s three sons are deceased.  The daughter-in-law has no children.  By 1920, Drusilla is living by herself in Lovell in a house she owns free-and-clear, remarkable for a woman now in her eighties.

Still alive in the Census of 1930, Drusilla appears to have left her home in Lovell and moved in with her youngest son and his wife, an insurance accountant living in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Drusilla Richardson Chandler Walker died in 1935 at the age of 97.  No date was included on the digital copy of the obituary that I found.  Interestingly, shows an empty space for her next to her husband in Fryeburg, Maine.  But it appears that the family did not transport her remains back home from Connecticut.

One odd thing about Drusilla is that she appears to have had no grandchildren.  One son died before he married.  Her eldest son was married for twelve years and her youngest for at least thirty years.  Yet neither had any children.  One can only speculate on the reasons.  This is the complete opposite of her own generation and those which came before.  Those families typically numbered 7 – 10 children apiece.

The John Chandler family disappears from Maine in Drusilla’s generation.  Four of her brothers married women from Massachusetts and then migrated to Wisconsin where one of them dies.  Two continue on to Iowa, settling in New Hampton and Red Oak – just 135 miles from Harper’s hometown.  By 1863, only the youngest brother is still living in Maine.  Perhaps the plan was for the youngest brother to inherit the farm.  But he enlists in the army in March 1865 and dies of disease five months later while serving in Mississippi.

Her father dies in 1868 afterwhich, there are no males from this family in Maine, while two generations of widows and orphans live in Lovell.

It is difficult to know how to feel about Drusilla’s life based on this limited knowledge.  She outlived all of her siblings by nearly thirty years.  She was a widow for forty years after thirty years of marriage and appears to have lived in the same home for over sixty years.  During her lifetime, Drusilla goes from a middle-class farming family in the 1850s, a girl being tutored or attending finishing school, preparing to become a proper middle-class housewife in Maine; to depending on the labor of her sole surviving descendent, an accountant son in Connecticut who must take in borders and who does not send her remains to rest with her husband.

Is this an American success story?  Did her life meet the expectations of the teenager who studied from the book I now hold in my hands?  I don’t know.  Coming from lineages which go back only three generations to immigrants, it was impressed on me early in my life that my generation was expected to exceed the success of the preceding ones.  I don’t see that progress in Drusilla’s life story as far as I can understand it.  But at least one of her brothers seems to prosper in Oregon, Wisconsin, as a hotelier and land owner, while two others settle in Iowa.

But perhaps I’m wrong.  She seems to have lived comfortably following the death of her husband in the 1890s and owned the house she lived most of her adult life.  This suggests a degree of wealth that might have moved her into the upper end of the middle class.   Her older brothers appear to have been successful in Wisconsin and in Iowa, but the family had to disperse until only the daughters were left behind: Eliza to be widowed in her thirties and die in her forties, and Drusilla to live out her days with her sons and their wives.  Did the girls stay in contact with their brothers?

Is that just the way it was in those days and Drusilla did meet the expectations of her teen-aged years.?  Maybe I’m looking at it from twenty-first century mores.  What do you think?  At the end of her life, was Drusilla content?

Drusilla Chandler and The Young Lady’s Companion Part 1

The Young Ladys Companion #1This week, I diverge from purely military history to an interesting topic that I discovered while doing research for the next book in the Harper’s War Stories series.  I am going to report on a person who played almost no role in the Civil War as far as I now, but with whom I became fascinated during the course of research for Harper’s Rescue.

Who was Drusilla Chandler?  She was a new bride in 1860 who, I believe, lived a life typical of women in the merchant class of the time.  I suspect that she may become a meme for a character in a later novel.

This past September, I was deeply engaged in research.  I knew that in the next volume, young Katie Malloy would be subject to schooling in the art of being a courtesan.  How well she’ll take to being back at school at the age of sixteen, I’ve yet to learn.  But I needed a source for the lessons that Eleanor and the other ladies at Lafitte’s Hideout would attempt to teach the perky Miss Katie.

I had the great good fortune one day to be participating in a chat group at the website: Civil War Talk  when I noticed a thread entitled: The Lady’s Companion.  The originator of the thread expressed the intent to post passages from a book by that name onto the chat page.  The book was published several times between 1850 and 1860 and it appears to be a guidebook for training girls of the middle class about behavior expected of proper ladies of the era.  So, of course I had to see this book.  Checking at ABEBOOKS, I was able to find an 1854 printing at Phylis Tholin Books in Evanston, Illinois.  When it arrived I was surprised to find the original owner had signed the front overleaf with her hometown but not the date.  The writing is in a carefully-written cursive that today we could expect to see only in calligraphy.

The Young Lady’s Companion; Sketches of Life, Manners, and Morals, at the Present Day contains a series of discussions of various topics of interest to antebellum ladies.  To quote from the Preface:

“The tastes of the ladies has been consulted in preparing the present volume for press.  From many writers of the best class, who are now contributing to the entertainment and instruction of the millions who read the English language, we have gathered choice pieces in perceptive, elegant, and imaginative literature, with here and there a gem of poetry – all bearing an intimate relation to the conduct of life, and addressed to female readers.”

After the first item, “The Influence of Woman in Society” [e.g.: society and civilization could not exist without the feminine] , the book consists of a series of essays and parables suggesting ways in which the proper society lady might be expected to act in the events daily life.  Since it was collected from the writings of ladies of “the best class” one expects that the solutions offered not only resolve the problems presented but also set the societal standard.

Back to Drusilla.  Seeing her name and town caused me to want to learn more about the lady.  Did she actually buy the book to help her prepare for her expected future role in society?  The Young Ladys Companion #2Or perhaps later in life, when as a dowager, did she find herself with time to enjoy reading books of an earlier age?  I took a tour through Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. search engines without result.  So I turned to to learn the basics.

I found her easily enough in the Census of 1850: Drusilla Richardson Chandler, age 12, living in Fryeburg, Maine [North Fryeburg in her signature].  She was the second of two daughters in a family with seven children.  Father John Chandler owned a small farm valued at $450 in 1850, $1,000 in 1860.  But Drusilla disappears in the Census of 1860.  What happened?  There are several possibilities.  The most logical is that she married before 1860, so I check the marriage records for Maine during the 1850s. Ancestry connects me to Mrs. Drusilla R. Walker, age 22, in the Census of 1860, the wife of the merchant Marshall Walker in Fryeburg, Maine with no children.

Now, if the lady is twelve years old in 1850 and twenty-two and married in 1860, and if the book that I have was published in 1854, I think it is a logical conclusion that she possessed the book as a sort of textbook shortly after it was published.  Supporting the textbook theory is the fact that the book has doodles on several pages which, to my mind, represent the bored mental wandering of a teen-aged girl being forced to sit through a school lesson.

So now, I’ve found her and I believe I have an answer to my initial question.  But that only makes me want to know more.  I’ll cover those discoveries next week.



General Lloyd Tighman

I will end my series on the biographies of the Confederate generals at Fort Donelson with Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman upon whom fell the unenviable task of constructing Forts Henry, Heiman and Donelson after they had been laid out, and then commanding their garrisons until he surrendered at Fort Henry.

Photo of Lloyd TilghmanEarly Life

Lloyd Tilghman was born in “Rich Neck Manor”, Claiborne, Maryland, great-grandson of a Maryland representative to the Continental Congress and grand-nephew of a man who had served on George Washington’s staff during the American Revolution.  He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated near the bottom of his class in 1836. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, but resigned his commission after three months. [ed. You could do that in 1836 because of the scarcity of trained engineers in the civil sector.]

He worked as an engineer from 1837 to 1845, before rejoining the Army during the War with Maxico.  He arrived in Corpus Christi in September, 1845, as a sutler but when the army discovered that he had been a lieutenant in the Dragoons and graduated from West Point, General David Twiggs made him aide de camp of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. Tilghman spent most of the war designing and building fortifications and would later become the captain of the Maryland and District of Columbia Volunteer Artillery, operating six light artillery pieces.

Following the war, Tilghman resumed his profession as an engineer of railroads.  In 1852, he moved to Paducah, KY, with his wife Augusta Murray Boyd, and their sons and daughters to work for the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  Ironically, he took up residence in a house across the street from the hotel which would become the headquarters of the Union garrison in 1862.


Civil War

Simon Bolivar Buckner commissioned Tilghman as colonel of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry [CSA] on July 5, 1861.  He faced an impossible task: to arm and clothe his unit without help from the state, which was still stating that because of Kentucky’s neutrality, it could not supply arms or accoutrements to men leaving the state to fight for either side.

He became a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army on October 18, after Kentucky troops were accepted into the Confederate Army.

When General Albert Sidney Johnston was looking for an officer to create defensive positions on the vulnerable Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, he was unaware of Tilghman’s presence in his department and another officer was selected.  However, the Richmond government pointed out Tilghman’s engineering background and Johnston appointed him he to the task.

General Daniel S. Donelson, another West Point graduate, but more a politician than an engineer, had already marked the sites for Forts Henry and Donelson.  Tilghman was placed in command and ordered to construct them. The geographic placement of Fort Henry was extremely poor, sited on a floodplain of the Tennessee River, but Tilghman did not object to its location until it was too late. Afterward, he wrote bitterly in his report that Fort Henry was in a “wretched military position … The history of military engineering records no parallel to this case.”  [ed. Read about the Battle for Fort Henry at the Shiloh Trilogy page of this website.]

Construction of both forts, as well as the smaller Fort Heiman across the Tennessee River from Fort Henry, went slowly due to material shortages and quarrels among the leaders managing the task.  Nevertheless, he did manage to do a more credible job on the construction of Fort Donelson, which lay on dry ground, commanding the river.

On February 6, 1862, an army under Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote attacked Fort Henry.  Tilghman was still inside Fort Henry when the attack began, having decided to share the fate of the garrison as a rear-guard while the bulk of his forces escaped down the 12-mile road to Fort Donelson.  Of course, the attack on Fort Henry on February 6th need not have taken place at all, since the fort flooded completely on February 8th .

Tilghman joined Simon B. Bucker in captivity at Fort Warren in Boston and was not released until August 15, 1862 when he was exchanged for Union general John F. Reynolds, a hero of Gettysburg.

Returning to the field in the fall of 1862, Tilghman became a brigade commander in Mansfield Lovell’s division of Earl Van Dorn’s Army of the West following the Second Battle of Corinth. Shortly thereafter, General Lovell was recalled and this division passed to William Loring.  Subsequently, the division received orders to Pemberton’s Army of the Mississippi for the defense of Vicksburg.

At the Battle of Champion Hill, May 16th, 1863, Tilghman led his brigade of Mississippians as while Loring was out maneuvered by McClernand  Assigned to be the rearguard during Loring’s retreat, he was killed by a fragment from a Federal shell which passed completely through his chest.  The remainder of the division escaped the Federal encirclement.

After his enlistment with the Confederate Army, Tilghman’s wife, Augusta, had moved to Tennessee for a time.  She returned to New York City after the war. At her orders, Tilghman was removed from his Mississippi grave and placed in a tomb at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City. Augusta died in 1898, and was buried next to the General.

Opinions on Tighman’s actions to prepare the forts vary among commentators.  Although all admit that remaining with the Fort Henry artillerists to the bitter end was an act of gallantry, some have stated that he was dilatory in their construction and as a result, the forts were vulnerable when Grant attacked.  Others state that allowing himself to be captured with the rearguard created a vacuum in leadership which allowed the rapid investment of Fort Donelson and resulted in the indecisive John Floyd coming into command at Fort Donelson.

In my opinion, both of these criticisms are unfair.  It is true that the forts were not complete by the time that Grant launched his campaign.  However, to blame Tilghman for their lack of readiness in the face of materiel shortages and poor siting is unfair.  It also detracts from Grant’s boldness in launching his campaign in the middle of winter specifically to avoid allowing the Confederates time to complete the fortifications, the decision to rely on Flag Officer Foote to maintain control of the rivers for supplying his army at a time when the roads were seasonably unusable, and on the excellent cooperation between Grant and Foote to execute the campaign.