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With Lee In Virginia: A Story Of The American Civil War
by G. A. Henty
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This classic novel about a Southern soldier and an escaped slave he helps during the Civil War was written during the postbellum period. The style of prose and the vocabulary make the story's main value (above pure entertainment) that of appreciating the history of the novel in America. John Bolen does many accents and voices with pleasant results; however, his women's falsetto voices turn out to be downright hilarious. Unfortunately, the monaural recording sounds flat, taking little advantage of the MP3 compact discs Tantor Media markets all of its audiobooks on. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Southern Partisan, 1st Quarter 1997
G. A. Henty was an adventure novelist for boys in the Victorian era. Happily, he's enjoying a comeback. While most of his adventures took English lads off to wartime derring-do in India or Africa or back to the Middle Ages, a few brought boys of English blood to America, like With Lee in Virginia. It's the sort of book Southern Partisan readers ought to pass on to their own sons. The politics of sectional conflict aren't oversimplified, but the bias is one Southern Partisan readers are likely to applaud . . . war's gritty reality is not ignored; it is handled thoughtfully and well in this cleverly done book for boys
Few great wars have been fought out by each side with greater intensity of conviction in the rightness of its cause or with more abundant personal heroism than the American civil war. Of this heroic clash of opposing convictions Mr. Henty has made admirable use in the story of a young Virginian planter, who, after bravely proving his sympathy with the slaves of brutal masters, serves with no less courage and enthusiasm under Lee and Jackson through the most exciting events of the struggle. He has many hairbreadth escapes, is several times wounded, and twice taken prisoner; but his courage and readiness and, in two cases, the devotion of a black servant and of a runaway slave whom he had assisted bring him safely through all difficulties.--- 12 illustrations, 2 maps (including 1 fold out map), 4 battle maps, Prefaces for British Lads and extremely rare American Lads, special modern foreword by George Calhoun, Executive Director of Mt Olive Tape Library, Mt. Olive, MS
Sometimes Ashley would draw together a score of troopers, and crossing the river in a ferryboat, would ride twenty miles north, and, dashing into quiet villages, astonish the inhabitants by the sight of the Confederate uniform. Then the villagers would be questioned as to the news that had reached them of the movement of the troops; the post office would be seized and the letters broken open; any useful -information contained in them being noted.
From the Publisher
Readers are rediscovering G. A. Henty, the prolific 19th century author of historical adventures, whom George Grant calls "a Victorian literary phenomenon." With Lee in Virginia introduces us to young Vincent Wingfield. Not yet 16, and back in Virginia after four years of school in England, Vincent finds conditions in the South and the country unsettled. Before long, war breaks out and Vincent goes to fight for the South. Henty's gripping story weaves Vincent's adventures with the real life events and people of the Civil War, teaching history as it entertains and celebrating the virtues of family loyalty, honor, bravery, and determination in the face of adversity.
Recommended for Ages 10 and up.
G. A. Hentys novel of the South and the War Between the States
Readers are rediscovering G. A. Henty, the prolific 19th century author of historical adventures, whom George Grant calls aVictorian literary phenomenon.
With Lee in Virginia introduces us to young Vincent Wingfield. Not yet 16, and back in Virginia after four years in England, Vincent finds conditions in the South and the country unsettled. Before long, war breaks out between the states and Vincent goes to fight for the South. Hentys gripping story weaves Vincents adventures with the real life events and people of the War, teaching history as it entertains.
Admiring of the South, but by no means downplaying the evils slavery wrought, Henty makes a valuable contribution to the field of childrens literature with this rousing story that gives todays children a new perspective on the War Between the States.
Vincent . . . was returning homeward, when he heard the sound of heavy blows with a whip and loud curses . . . For a moment he hesitated, and then, with a cry of rage Vincent leaped from his horse . . . and burst his way through the shrubbery . . . Vincent sprang forward, and seizing it (the whip), wrested it from the hands of the striker . . . You are a coward and a blackguard, Andrew Jackson! Vincent exclaimed, white with anger. You are a disgrace to Virginia, you ruffian! . . . The slave who had been flogged . . . ran up to Vincent, threw himself on his knees, and taking the lads hand pressed it to his lips. I am afraid I havent done you much good, Vincent said. You will be none the better off for my interference; but I couldnt help it. So saying, he made his way through the shrubbery, cleared the fence, mounted, and rode homeward.
BONUS! This book includes a Build-Your-Vocabulary Glossary for quick look-up of words children may not know.
Whenever I ran across [a Henty book] in our local library I quickly checked it out, rushed home, and read itusually without putting it down.
George Alfred Henty wrote his first boys adventure, Out of the Pampas, in 1868. Its popularity spurred him to write some eighty more childrens books. Drawing on his own experiences fighting in the Crimean War and as a foreign correspondent in Europe and Africa, Henty fashioned stories for children that combined realism and what he called a manly tone. His novels encompass an array of times and places from the early days of Egypt to the mines of the California Gold Rush.
George Alfred Henty was born in Trumpington, England, on December 8, 1832. He studied at Cambridge, but left without his degree to volunteer for service in the Crimean War. After several failed attempts at careers, he decided in 1865 to become a writer, beginning as a correspondent for The Standard. He also wrote adult novels, but turned to childrens stories after contributing with success to Union Jack magazine. In his World article George Grant calls Mr. Henty a Victorian literary phenomenon whose 144 books and myriad short stories have long enthralled adults and children alike. His fiercely accurate narratives range across the whole spectrum of human achievement, highlighting the greatest characters and the most decisive moments in history.
Mr. Henty died on November 16, 1902, leaving a literary legacy that Lost Classics Book Company is proud to help revive.
Vincent had indeed escaped without a wound, having been only stunned by the passage of the shot that had carried away his cap, and missed him but by the fraction of an inch. He had begun to recover consciousness just as his captors came up, and the action of carrying him completely restored him. That he had fallen into the hands of the Northerners he was well aware; but he was unable to imagine how this had happened. He remembered that the Confederates had been, up to the moment when he fell, completely successful, and he could only imagine that in a subsequent attack the Federals had turned the tables upon them.
How he himself had fallen, or what had happened to him, he had no idea. Beyond a strange feeling of numbness in the head he was conscious of no injury, and he could only imagine that his horse had been shot under him, and that he must have fallen upon his head. The thought that his favorite horse was killed afflicted him almost as much as his own capture. As soon as his captors perceived that their prisoners consciousness had returned they at once reported that an officer of Stuarts cavalry had been taken, and at daybreak next morning General McClellan on rising was acquainted with the fact, and Vincent was conducted to his tent.
You are unwounded, sir? the general said in some surprise.
I am, General, Vincent replied. I do not know how it happened, but I believe that my horse must have been shot under me, and that I must have been thrown and stunned; however, I remember nothing from the moment when I heard the word halt, just as we reached the side of the stream, to that when I found myself being carried here.
You belong to the cavalry?
Was Lees force all engaged yesterday?
I do not know, Vincent said. I only came up with Jacksons division from Harpers Ferry the evening before.
I need not have questioned you, McClellan said. I know that Lees whole army, 100,000 strong, opposed me yesterday.
Vincent was silent. He was glad to see that the Federal general, as usual, enormously overrated the strength of the force opposed to him.
I hear that the whole of the garrison of Harpers Ferry were released on parole not to serve again during the war. If you are ready to give me your promise to the same effect I will allow you to return to your friends; if not, you must remain a prisoner until you are regularly exchanged.
I must do so, then, General, Vincent said quietly. I could not return home and remain inactive while every man in the South is fighting for the defense of his country, so I will take my chance of being exchanged.
I am sorry you choose that alternative, McClellan said. I hate to see brave men imprisoned if only for a day; and braver men than those across yonder stream are not to be found. My officers and men are astonished. They seem so thin and worn as to be scarce able to lift a musket, their clothes are fit only for a scarecrow, they are indeed pitiful objects to look at; but the way in which they fight is wonderful. I could not have believed had I not seen it, that men could have charged as they did again and again across ground swept by a tremendous artillery and musketry fire; it was wonderful! I can tell you, young sir, that even though you beat us we are proud of you as our countrymen; and I believe that if your General Jackson were to ride through our camp he would be cheered as lustily and heartily by our men as he is by his own.
Some fifty or sixty other prisoners had been taken; they had been captured in the hand-to-hand struggle that had taken place on some parts of the field, having got separated from their corps and mixed up with the enemy, and carried off the field with them as they retired. These for the most part accepted the offered parole; but some fifteen, like Vincent, preferred a Northern prison to promising to abstain from fighting in defense of their country, and in the middle of the day they were placed together in a tent under a guard at the rear of the camp.
The next morning came the news that Lee had fallen back. There was exultation among the Federals, not unmingled with a strong sense of relief; for the heavy losses inflicted in the previous fighting had taken all the ardor of attack out of McClellans army, and they were glad indeed that they were not to be called upon to make another attempt to drive the Confederates from their position. Vincent was no less pleased at the news. He knew how thin were the ranks of the Confederate fighting men, and how greatly they were worn and exhausted by fatigue and want of food, and that, although they had the day before repulsed the attacks of the masses of well fed Northerners, such tremendous exertions could not often be repeated, and a defeat, with the river in their rear, approachable only by one rough and narrow road, would have meant a total destruction of the army.
The next morning Vincent and his companions were put into the train and sent to Alexandria. They had no reason to complain of their treatment upon the way. They were well-fed, and after their starvation diet for the last six weeks their rations seemed to them actually luxurious. The Federal troops in Alexandria, who were for the most part young recruits who had just arrived from the north and west, looked with astonishment upon these thin and ragged men, several of whom were barefooted. Was it possible that such scarecrows as these could in every battle have driven back the well-fed and cared for Northern soldiers!
Are they all like this? one burly young soldier from a western state asked their guard.
Thats them, sir, the sergeant in charge of the party replied. Not much to look at, are they? But, by gosh, you should see them fight! You wouldnt think of their looks then.
If thats soldiering, the young farmer said solemnly, the sooner I am back home again the better. But it dont seem to me altogether strange as they should fight so hard, because I should say they must look upon it as a comfort to be killed rather than to live like that.
A shout of laughter from the prisoners showed the young rustic that the objects of his pity did not consider life to be altogether intolerable even under such circumstances, and he moved away meditating on the discomforts of war, and upon the remarks that would be made were he to return home in so sorrowful a plight as that of these Confederate prisoners.
I bargained to fight, he said, and though I dont expect I shall like it, I shant draw back when the time comes; but as to being starved till you are nigh a skeleton, and going about barefooted and in such rags as a tramp wouldnt look at, it aint reasonable. And yet, had he known it, among those fifteen prisoners more than half were possessors of wide estates, and had been brought up from their childhood in the midst of luxuries such as the young farmer never dreamed of.
Among many of the soldiers sympathy took a more active form, and men pressed forward and gave packets of tobacco, cigars, and other little presents to them, while two or three pressed rolls of dollar notes into their hands, with words of rough kindness.
There aint no ill feeling in us, Rebs. You have done your work like men and no doubt you thinks your cause is right, just as we does; but its all over now, and maybe our turn will come next to see the inside of one of your prisons down south. So we are just soldiers together, and can feel for each other.
Discipline in small matters was never strictly enforced in the American armies, and the sergeant in charge offered no opposition to the soldiers mingling with the prisoners as they walked along.
Two days later they were sent by railway to the great prison at Elmira, a town in the southwest of the state of New York. When they reached the jail the prisoners were separated, Vincent, who was the only officer, being assigned quarters with some twenty others of the same rank. The prisoners crowded round him as he entered, eager to hear the last news from the front, for they heard from their guards only news of constant victories won by the Northerners; for every defeat was transformed by the Northern papers into a brilliant victory, and it was only when the shattered remains of the various armies returned to Alexandria to be reformed that the truth gradually leaked out. Thus Antietam had been claimed as a great Northern victory, for although McClellans troops had in the battle been hurled back shattered and broken across the river, two days afterward Lee had retired.
One of the prisoners, who was also dressed in cavalry uniform, hung back from the rest, and going to the window looked out while Vincent was chatting with the others. Presently he turned round, and Vincent recognized with surprise his old opponent Jackson. After a moments hesitation he walked across the room to him.
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