Welcome to my website. I hope you enjoy my photographs and information on my two novels. Courage on Little Round Top is now an E-book on Amazon and my just completed published Courage on Cemetery Ridge.
I remember little about my first visit to Gettysburg. My parents told me later it was the summer of 1960. We saw cannons and I started the climb to the top of Longstreet Tower on South Confederate Avenue. I only know it was that tower, because once at the top my Dad pointed out the Eisenhower Farm.
Like many people, my next exposure to Gettysburg came in school when I found The American Heritage’s Picture History of The Civil War written by Bruce Catton. It sparked my interest in the war that when I saw the paperback novel The Killer Angles, I bought it immediately.
In 1986, I made my second trip to Gettysburg. It was late in the afternoon on a rainy Sunday when I found the position of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s Twentieth Maine. It was at that moment that I got the idea of writing a novel focusing on Chamberlain and the officer he captured during the famous charge.
Over the next twenty years, I through trial and lots lots of errors, I learned to write novels. When I got some feedback that my dialog was stilted, I had to first to look up what it meant in the dictionary before I realized how poor my dialog was.
Along the way, I was lucky to work with Robert “Dick” Vaughan and Casey Kelly. I will leave it to others to comment on the quality of my work, but it has been an interesting, frustrating, and very fulfilling experience.
When doing book signings, I will ask people how many Chamberlain brothers were at Gettysburg? For those who have read The Killer Angles or seen the movie Gettysburg without doing more in depth research, the answer is always two. Most are surprised that brother John was also at Gettysburg. A member of the Christian Commission, he had traveled south for the summer to visit his brothers in Virginia, but instead had to borrow a horse, so he could catch up with them on their march north in pursuit of the rebel army.
In that army was Junior Second Lieutenant Robert Wicker of Company L of the Fifteenth Alabama. A college student from Perote, Alabama was a member of the First Alabama, but had returned home to help organize what became Company L. After Chancellorsville, Wicker was the only remaining officer in the company and had expected to be given command, but instead a higher ranking lieutenant was promoted instead.
Courage on Little Round Top is a more detail look at Joshua Chamberlain and his two brothers and the young Robert Wicker, who he captured at the point of his sword during the famous charge down Little Round Top.
My second novel is written from the point of view of just two men: Captain Jacob Turney of the First Tennessee and First Lieutenant Stephen Brown of the Thirtieth Vermont. Turney, the hardened veteran in charge of Company K, has had two of brothers killed while serving under him. As the battle approaches, he worries about his two remaining brothers.
Brown, a devote Christian, puts his faith into practice as executive officer of his company with a keen focus on the welfare of his men.
Forced by casualties during the first day’s morning defeat, Jacob Turney struggles with the reorganization of his company and the unruly behavior of his brothers. Dispatched to guard the right flank of the afternoon attack, Turney has a ringside seat to watch retreat of the Union army. He fears there is no follow up against the reorganizing Union army on Cemetery Hill.
Stephen Brown frets as the Thirteenth Vermont rushes to catch up with the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The Thirteenth is a nine-month regiment that has spent eight and half months guarding supply lines, the First Corps had a two-day head start when they were ordered to join them. Stephen’s worries come true when the First Corps is defeated by the rebel army west of Gettysburg before the Thirteenth could join them. Arrested and relieved of his sword for getting his men water during the march, Stephen joins what is left of the First Corps on Cemetery Hill with only a small camp hatchet for defense.
Courage on Cemetery Ridge alternates between these two men through the Battle of Gettysburg until they come face to face after Pickett’s Charge and Brown uses his little hatchet to encourage Turney to surrender his sword. While few visitors to Gettysburg notice it, the “hatchet incident” is immortalized on the memorial of the Thirteenth Vermont with Brown holding the captured sword as the hatchet sticks from the statue’s base by Brown’s right foot. Like Courage on Little Round Top, I took dramatic license only where there was no clear historical record of the events.
I am a veteran of the United States Army with a degree in Secondary Education Social Studies from IPFW. Graduating from school during a time of teacher cutbacks and not wanting to be a coach, I ended up working in insurance claims for the last 32 years. It was during my first visit to Gettysburg in 1986 that I got the idea for Courage on Little Round Top. After completing my extensive research, I spent a year writing it knowing when completed it would be a best seller and I would be rich. After forty rejections from agents and fifteen years of learning to write as I dealt with my mild affliction of dysgraphia, I was finally able to get it published. My wife came down with progressive multiple sclerosis as I continued to work my day job, so it took me longer than I expected to complete my second novel Courage on Cemetery Ridge