The Stories

 Sean Kevin Gabhann

Fort Henry Cover PageFREE!  A description of the attack on Forts Heiman and Henry as they occur in Harper’s War Stories.

This short story is available to read by clicking here: Fort Henry Free Essay









Harpers Donelson Front Page for Web 20150901In this brilliantly written epic novel, Sean Gabhann traces the lives, passions, and careers of three ordinary people who struggle to find their place in the turmoil of a nation ripped apart by civil war. We meet Lieutenant James Harper, a former deputy marshal to the Dakota territory, now a junior officer in the First Iowa Mounted Infantry; Kathleen (Katie) Malloy, a teenaged girl indentured to entrepreneurs on the promise of an upper-class education but forced instead to work as a saloon girl; and Corporal Gustav Magnusson, a young Quaker farmer given responsibilities beyond his nineteen years for twenty designated skirmishers.

It is the winter of 1862. While Harper aspires to command of a company, the First Iowa meets it new commander, a man who hates Harper enough to want him court-martialed for the wounds his son suffered in an earlier battle.  Malloy has settled into her new life as a saloon-girl but knows that one day she will find a way to regain control of her life and become more than the soldiers’ whore. Magnusson has earned a corporal’s stripes. Now he must learn to lead his men in battle, train them to operate effectively together, perfect their survival skills, and protect them so they can fulfill their roles in the defeat of the rebellion.

Each believes Grant’s campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson will provide opportunities to achieve their personal goals.  While a door opens for Katie to a possible new future, Harper and Magnusson must learn to cooperate if they are to survive when the fortunes of war turn against them.

Gabhann reveals his characters with intimacy against the backdrop of the campaign which made Ulysses S. Grant’s reputation. Meticulously researched and beautifully described, he delivers the reader to a by-gone world when the Missouri River marked the western boundary of the nation – a nation where the primacy of the state over the federal has yet to be resolved and whose proclamation of liberty eighty-five years earlier remains incomplete.

Published by Sundown Press, Harper’s Donelson is available from Amazon.




Book 2 Harper's Rescue Front CoverThe story continues.

March 1862. Disgraced Federal officer James Harper must redeem his honor and face down his enemies if he intends to stay in the Union Army and avoid his scheduled court martial. Recruited by General Grant’s spymaster, Harper must prove that whore monger Franklin Bosley is a Confederate conspirator—a man who has no scruples, and will do anything it takes to see to his own “cause” above all else.

Harper knows that Bosley and his men are a threat to the Union Army—but that’s not all. Maggie, the woman who has broken through Harper’s emotional walls, is also in immediate danger. Harper has to act fast or there will be more deaths on his conscience—and Maggie’s is one he couldn’t bear.

Meanwhile, indentured saloon girl Katie Malloy must find her own way to escape Bosley—or die. Finding solace in the arms of one of Harper’s men whom she has come to love, she realizes in one terrible moment that she cannot depend on him to rescue her—she must do that herself, even if it means murder.

Once at odds with Lieutenant Harper, Corporal Gustav Magnusson begins to understand that Harper will see this mission through or die trying. He’s going to need Magnusson’s help—but who can they trust? There may be just one way out alive—if they can both survive long enough to put their daring plan into action for HARPER’S RESCUE…

Published by Sundown Press, Harper’s Donelson will be available March 23rd, 2017 from Amazon,. You can pre-order the ebook version now.

Special: Harper’s Rescue features a number of songs from the mid-nineteenth century sung by the ladies at The Officers’ Club when Harper visits there. Some of these are American standards but several are unique to the period of the American Civil War. I have prepared a YouTube playlist which includes these songs. To access this playlist, click here. In order to give a better experience of these songs in the context of parlor entertainment in 1862, I have chosen renditions by female performers in period costumes whenever possible and have opted for videos with a minimal of artificial processing.



Harpers Shiloh Book Cover

The survivors rejoin their battalion during the army’s build-up around a small country church in south-west Tennessee.

We continued to make progress in the various drafts of Book 3 of the Shiloh Trilogy. The initial draft of the manuscript currently stands at 55,000 words.


A letter from Major Sullivan Ballou, 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry.





John Kevin Smith


Convoys to Malta 1942Free.  An historical perspective on the difficulties of supplying the WW2 island fortress and its critical role disrupting Rommel’s supply lines between Italy and North Africa. Reprinted from Wargamers Digest volume 12, 1984-5. Click below to view.  NOTE: You do not need to register with Dropbox to view the articles.  Simply close the Dropbox login/sign-up window if it appears.


Part 1

Part 2





Book 1Family Pedigree Chart.

This is a report of work in my genealogy hobby.  My initial goal was to trace my family’s roots back through American history to learn who were my family’s immigrant ancestors.  These four volumes trace that lineage through thirteen generations.  Since all of these persons except myself have passed, these volumes are available to the general public.  NOTE: You do not need to register with Dropbox to view the articles.  Simply close the Dropbox login/sign-up window if it appears.

Book 1.  Myself through my Second Great-Grandparents

Book 2.  Third through Sixth Great-Grandparents

Book 3. Seventh through Tenth Great-Grandparents

Book 4.  Eleventh Great-Grandparents.