A-Z Blogging J Is For Jordan


Thomas Jordan, like most Confederate generals, started out in the Federal army. It was a tough decision for many to leave the army they loved, but they could not bring themselves to raise arms against their homes. What man would not defend his home and loved ones? For certain, some southerners did join the Union, but for those who became rebels it was mostly a matter of defense.

Jordan knew war was coming and had been setting up a spy ring for at least a year before Virginia seceded and Lee resigned. He created a cypher system to encode messages and passed control of the ring on to Wild Rose O’Neal Greenbow who continued to pass information even after her arrest in January of 1862.

Jordan remained in the army as long as he could to continue gathering information and organizing his spy ring in Washington. He didn’t resign until May 22, 1861. Gen. Winfield Scott offered command of the army to Robert E. Lee whom he considered the finest soldier in the army. Lee asked if he could remain out of the war, which Scott refused even though he’d been promising southern officers they would not be forced to take up arms against the south if they remained.

Since I had to fudge dates and times where Jordan would be in the story, I decided to create a character based on him to keep purists from complaining about my inaccuracies.

In the following scene, this character is meeting with the main character Lorena McKenzie about becoming a spy for him.

Captain Fox regarded me with large brown, alert eyes, as if appraising me. They were handsome eyes in a handsome face, but there was a bird of prey edge to them. I could very well imagine him sizing up a situation, taking in every detail, and formulating an attack with methodical grace and speed. This was a man used to action. He laid his cap on the split log mantle and returned his attention to the fire.

I mapped out his face, so I might remember it later to sketch him. His features were remarkably symmetrical, with a strong, straight nose, slightly cleft chin marred only by a deep crescent scar on the left side, curving up toward his mouth. He had the strong, classic features artists adored. The mouth, though, was a poet’s mouth. Sensitive and full, I could see him reciting Byron to his lady love and yet the coming discussion was the farthest thing from soothing, else we would have met over lunch.

He glanced over at me, frowning, as if aware of being watched. “You seem very attentive.”

I lowered my gaze, embarrassed at my brazen stares. “Forgive me. I’m a bit of an artist. Your face intrigues me. I thought to memorize it so I could sketch it later.”

He chuckled, revealing deep dimples. “Well, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t do that. It could be quite . . . hazardous for me if the wrong people knew I was here. I prefer my neck unstretched.”


  1. Sometimes, even unbidden, I look for something I’d change in the writing. And then I’ll try to toss it to the writer in a non-threatening way. So I thought I’d do that here.

    Nothin’. I got nothin’. Well struck.

    1. John, too funny. I always welcome advice. After the discussions about character descriptions on Janet’s I was hesitant to post this. Once again, thank you so much for stopping by. I’m enjoying the challenge more than I thought I would, but it is a bit of a challenge.

  2. Your civil war history knowledge is uncanny. This is all really fascinating stuff, Julie. Keeping the purists happy is why fantasy is my forte, but I love historical fiction about as much. I love what you are doing here. Can’t wait to read ALL of your books. They all sound wonderful.

  3. Elise,

    Thank you so much. I’ve tried to go to your site a couple of times today and I keep getting an error message.

    Anyway. Even with the fantasy, I do a lot of research. However, with this book I am being very careful. The stitch counters will tag me for every mistake. I don’t mind the research anyway as it’s a favorite subject.

    I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

  4. “I prefer my neck unstretched.” I gotta hand it to you, Julie, your way with words here on these civil war pieces shows how much you know about the subject even down to the particulars of the way they likely spoke, i.e. word choices. I wish I had time to read all of these…b/c they are truly fascinating from the factual tidbits you give us, to your excerpts.

    Love it!

  5. That’s the trouble with historical fiction, keeping timelines straight, and making sure everyone is alive when they should be. Though there ought to be some wiggle room for “fiction,” you’ll always have your “historical” purists who won’t cut any slack. Excellent stuff, Julie! 🙂

  6. Thank you, Colin. Oh, I’m not worried about people being alive, but I have to have them in the right places. Stitch counters know exactly who was where on any given day.

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