My first historical novel. You might ask how it was that I decided to attempt to write a book. I became interested in the American Civil War at a young age. When I was in junior high school where we first learned about the Civil War and were given projects to do at home. Mine was to make a map of Sherman’s march through Georiga. My dad got me a piece of plywood and some plaster-of-Paris. When I completed mine, my dad had to help me take it to my classroom. If I recall, I got an “A”.
One Christmas my dad handed me a small wood crate, which was heavy for its size. Within it was the 6 volume set on Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg. That piqued my interest in Lincoln. I do not recall the occasion, whether a Christmas or a birthday, but I received a bronze bust of Lincoln.
My maternal grandfather, Charles H. Faurot, worked in the powerhouse of the Henry Ford Museum, in Dearborn, Michigan. Our family had free access to the museum, and Greenfield Village. There were two exhibits in the museum that I visited the most. One was the huge 2-6-6-6 Lima Locomotive, often referred to as the “Allegheny.” I actually saw that train in motion when it was headed for the museum. However, the most important exhibit that I always went to last, was the rocking chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. I always stared at the stains, which were once believed to be Lincoln’s blood. It made him more real for me. Years later, as an adult, I found out that the stains had been tested and found to be hair oil. I was a bit disappointed but it did not really matter to me, nor does it now.
I was born in Detroit, lived in Dearborn until I completed 6th grade. My parents had a house built in Plymouth, Michigan, and on Labor Day of 1960, we moved in. I have a 2nd cousin, Janet, who also lived in Plymouth, and I called her Princess. I had moved to Florida and we lost touch for several years, but then one day she told me that her father, Hal, had accumulated a lot of research on our great-great-grandfather, Ralph Goweth Terry, who was also a Plymouth resident, along with his wife Elizabeth. Ralph enlisted in Company C of the 24th Michigan Infantry Regiment, which had signed up in a park in the center of town, known as Kellogg Park. Janet knew how interested I was in the Civil War, and I was thrilled to know that I had a Civil War veteran in my ancestry (I have since discovered several ancestors who served in the Union Army). Janet put together a binder containing all that her father had accumulated and sent it to me. I cannot express how thrilled I was to receive that. Sometime later, she suggested that I ought to attempt to write a book about Ralph Terry and the 24th Michigan. Of course, I thought that notion was absurd, but as time passed, I began to research the topic, and acquired copies of books about the 24th Michigan, and the Iron Brigade.
Finally, one day I decided to make an attempt at writing. I managed to write a few chapters, but then that little voice in my head said to me, “Who the hell do you think you are? What makes you think you can actually write a book, let alone get it published. I am just wasting my time.” So, I shelved what manuscript I had. A few years passed and one day I retrieved the manuscript and looked it over. My original concept was to write the story as if a local reporter in Plymouth, visited Ralph Terry in the G.A.R. The interview would lead to Ralph telling of his experiences with the 24th Michigan. I told Janet, she told her dad. She then told me that both she and her dad did not think that was a good idea. So, I began a rewrite. It was just as well as some of what I have originally written was not that good and needed a rewrite desperately.
I cannot tell you how many years went into researching the topic and writing the story. Even then I had little thought of trying to get it published, but I did. The day arrived when UPS delivered my original copy, the first book of the first edition. I stood there with the book in my hands, looked at the front and back covers, and saw my name on the bottom of the front cover. Wow! I was thrilled. So, there you have it.