A-Z Theme

woman being a medic in civil war

Well, I’m doing it again. I’m going to do the A-Z Challenge. Last time I wrote a blog post each day and didn’t even know until that day what I was going to write. This time I’m at least going to be a little more prepared.

So, here’s the theme and those of you who know me will not be surprised. Since The Rain Crow, my historical, is about a young woman who becomes a Confederate spy it’s about the Civil War. More than that, I’ve decided to blog about things that people might wonder about in the book. Women didn’t do that! That isn’t how you would do that! I didn’t know that! No, no, no, that never happened!

I hope you all will enjoy the little snippets this month and along the way as we explore fascinating little tidbits of history.

Mention the American Civil War and many people will immediately think of Scarlett and Rhett. Margaret Mitchell did a stellar job of bringing that era to life, but there was so much more and how could there not be?

The Rain Crow, my nearly completed historical is sitting at 149,000 words and it covers four months. I haven’t even written the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) yet or the heroine’s harrowing last adventure and escape. She, by the end, has become a courier and spy.

Ironclads made a name for themselves on the east coast in well known and historic battles. Cottonclads plied the Mississippi and Rio Grande rivers, running Union blockades and waging a war of their own for the west.

The Hunley was being tested in South Carolina, but a man named Cheney already had a submarine in operation out of Richmond that had successfully sunk a barge. These submersibles would have little bearing on the war, but naval warfare would never be the same.

Hunley Crew

The America, a sleek little racing yacht won the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron’s “One Hundred Sovereign Cup” for which the America’s Cup is now named. She would change names to the Camilla and become a Confederate blockade runner. Captain Decie scuttled her rather than have her taken by the Union, but they raised her and used her for blockading.

The America Schooner Yacht…, PY8703

The blockade was so successful coffee and salt were at a premium. Flour was not to be had. Innovative southerners learned what they could use to substitute for coffee. Parched ground yams was a palatable substitute. They tore up the floors of smokehouses and leeched the boards for salt or threw a piece of wood in with a pot of soup or stew to get a little salt flavoring.

Medicine, as it always does in war, made great advances. Doctors who might never have seen an amputation, performed them by the dozens after battles, stacking discarded limbs taller than a man. Initially, most patients would not survive.

War was no place for a woman so the men thought. They soon changed their minds. Vivandiers on the battlefield and nurses alike proved to be invaluable. President Davis made one woman a captain in the Confederate army as there was a rule that all army hospitals must be ordered by at least a captain. Her hospital had such a success rate he refused to shut it down even when faced with complaints by doctors about a female operating a hospital.

I seldom open a diary, journal, memoir, or collection of letters without finding something that draws new amazement and I have over six hundred books on the Civil War.

So, come with me explore the unique, the little known, the human part of the Civil War. It’s more than the north and the south. It’s a journey of the soul.


  1. Yay, Julie, you’ve committed (maybe need to be committed, I kinda wonder if I should be for signing up again this year).

    Love the theme. I don’t know a whole lot about the civil war (read Gone With the End an eternity ago but didn’t enjoy it so wiped it from my memory pretty quickly). I’m looking forward to learning more =)

    1. Miss Andi,

      Oh, I hope more than teach, people just say, “Hmm, that was kind of interesting. I never thought about this.”
      Thanks so much for stopping by


    1. Dena,

      Oh, it’s a fatal addiction, I’m afraid. I bought two more last night.

      I hope they are interesting to people other than history buffs.


  2. This sounds amazing. I get lost in history, too, because–as you say–there is always something startling to learn. I look forward to your posts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *