Archive for July, 2012

The historic battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 2nd, 3rd and 4th in 1863, appears in a few of my Civil War and time travel romances. Not only was this a huge battle that turned the tide of the American Civil War, but I like this location because I’ve personally visited the battlefield and town of Gettysburg many times. It helps a fiction writer to have a feel for the area where the story is taking place.

Erin’s Rebel, my time travel romance, and Confederate Rose, Civil War romance, and my newest Civil War romance, Cole’s Promise, feature this battle directly. But several of my stories mention the battle, even those stories taking place after the war, like post Civil War romance, Cassidy’s War, where the hero recalls witnessing the death of his best friend in the battle. His friend was also the heroine’s older brother.

Facts of this battle:

The battle of Gettysburg was the largest during the Civil War and all battles fought in North America. 85,000 men in the Union Army of the Potomac under Major General George Gordon Meade faced about 75,000 under General Robert Edward Lee. Casualties totaled 23,049 for the Union and 28,063 for the Confederate army.

Although the war continued for two more years, this battle turned the tide of the war in the Union’s favor.

After Lee’s victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 1st through 4th in 1863, General Lee figured an invasion of the north would aid Virginia’s farms during their growing season, since the war had taken its toll on Virginia’s farmland early in the war. Also any victories on northern soil would put pressure on Abraham Lincoln to negotiate a settlement to end the war. The South was also still hopeful it would receive military aid from England and France in the form of an alliance. A victory in the North might help bring that about.

Prior to Gettysburg, the battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Virginia had been the only foray for the Confederate army into the North. That battle had been fought on September 17, 1862 and had ended in a draw.

In late June, the Confederate army moved along the Shenandoah Valley through western Maryland and into central Pennsylvania.

The Union army was under the command of General Joe Hooker. After losing to the Confederates at Chancellorsville, “fighting Joe’s” reputation was tarnished. When reports arrived that Confederates had crossed the Potomac onto Northern soil, Hooker dispersed his army. His aim was to protect any approaches to Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Lincoln’s confidence in the general had been lost and he decided he had no choice but to replace his commander. George Gordon Meade was chosen to lead the army of the Potomac, the Union’s largest army.

Meade’s hope was to draw Lee into an attack on the high ground along Pipe Steam Creek. But as he drew close to Lee’s army, the Confederates scattered.

The armies met up in a sleepy little town in south central Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. The battle lasted three days in a decided Union victory, although thousands of men were lost or wounded.

On July 4th Lee’s army began a 27 mile journey hauling hospital trains, escaping into Virginia.  Meade decided his army was too depleted and battered to launch a pursuit. Meade was criticized for his decision and Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and placed over all Northern armies. Lee offered his resignation to Jefferson Davis, but he refused to allow him to leave. Lee remained in command of the Confederate army for the remainder of the war.

Gettysburg civilians were left to deal with the thousands of wounded, as well as the dead scattered all over the countryside. Public buildings were made into hospitals. Infection and disease caused highly unsanitary conditions throughout the town. Volunteers traveled to Gettysburg from both North and South to give aid.

The only civilian killed during the three day battle was 20 year old Jenny Wade, shot in the back while making bread in her own house.

For more info on the Battle of Gettysburg, visit these sites:




For more on my romances relating to this battle, visit my books page on this blog or http://susanmacatee.com/mybooks.html

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This is the final week, ending on July 31st, to get your free download of Dreaming Josie at Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177360  with the promo code SSWIN.

I’m also over at Slip Into Something Victorian today with another Civil War of the day post. Confederate colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest it at it again!

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Union camp outside of Frederick, Maryland
June 26, 1863

Cole Manning crouched behind a fragrant, flowering bush, the sweet, cloying smell mixing with the scent of pine. Pistol at eye level, he peered through the forest for any sign of a Confederate patrol. His squad stayed behind him, out of sight, their rifles on the ground by their sides, per his order.

Strains of heavy breathing surrounded him. He’d been ordered to lead his men on patrol around the camp perimeter for any sign of Rebel infiltrators.

After a short glance back to assure himself his men were ready, he turned back, squinting in the shaft of moonlight filtering through the tops of the trees. Other than the hoot of owls, the silence unnerved him. He patted his chest in the spot where his inner pocket held a tintype of his best girl, Hannah. She’d given it to him as a token to carry when he’d joined the Union army. Each night by candlelight, in the privacy of his tent, he’d studied the photo with the intentions of proposing when he returned. Thoughts of the lovely Hannah and their future life together kept his spirits from sagging even when he feared he could no longer function.

A shout echoed through the woods, tightening his grip on the revolver. His head swiveled, trying to locate the source of the sound.

“Sir,” one of the men shouted.

Cole turned back to catch the dim form of Corporal Hanson in the filtered light.  He pointed a long finger ahead. “Behind the trees.”

A line of shadows emerged through the tree line opposite their position. Cole narrowed his gaze. As the shapes passed through the open field beyond the trees and brush, the full moon enabled Cole to make out the color of butternut and gray. A Rebel patrol.

He held up a hand as a signal to the men crouched behind him. “Hold until I yell ‘fire’.”

A hushed chorus of  “Yes, sir,” sounded. He held his breath waiting for the patrol to move closer. He needed to see how many Confederates edged toward him and his men so he could plan their attack or escape, if necessary.

Tension built as the patrol edged forward. Beside Cole, a very young private, Upwood—he believed his name was—lifted his rifle, his fingers twitching on the barrel and trigger.

“Be steady, private,” Cole ordered.

The private nodded and licked his lips.

The scent of pine, spring flowers, and sweat mingled as Cole waited out the Rebels, who seemed unaware of the Union patrol directly in front of their position.

“Lieutenant,” a voice beside him whispered. “Should we get our rifles at the ready?”

Sergeant Mallory had crept up on his elbows to voice the question.

Cole nodded. “Get everyone at the ready. When I give the order to fire, stand and shoot. We’ll mow them down before they have a chance to blink.”

“Yes, sir.” The sergeant crept back to relay Cole’s orders.

He measured the enemy’s position in yards, ticking them off in his head. He wanted them close so they’d not have a chance to recover in time to fire back. After a brief glimpse to the rear to be sure the men had their rifles in position, he took a deep breath.

“Fire!” he yelled. He stood and shot a very surprised Rebel.

His men fired from behind and five more Rebs fell.

“Retreat!” a big man in his line of sight ordered. The Rebel patrol backed away, then turned and fled.

“Should we go after them, sir?” the sergeant asked.

Cole shook his head. “Not for now.” He pointed to the prone Rebels in front of them. “Get someone to check on them. Are any of our own men hurt?”

“A few minor injuries. I’ll have one of the corporals check on them.” He summoned two privates. “Check those Rebs to see if they’re alive and get their weapons.”

Cole’s Promise available at The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4821

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Coles-Promise-Love-Letters-ebook/dp/B007VRKQ04/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334931371&sr=1-4

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1110282244?ean=2940014529969

All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cole039spromise-780707-158.html

The Romance Studio Review http://www.theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/colepromisemacatee.htm

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If you wanted to get somewhere fast in 1870, rail travel was the way to go. As new tracks were laid and accommodations grew more comfortable, long distance travel by rail grew popular. Trains contained sleeping cars, dining cars, even parlor and smoking cars.

In my work-in-progress, The Physician’s Irish Lady, set in 1870, the heroine is on the run from a man pursuing her from New York City. She flees to Philadelphia, then hops a train headed to York, Pennsylvania. She doesn’t have much money, but cringes at the sight of the men seated in the open air third-class car. She buys a second-class seat to avoid being seated among them.

The third-class car on a train was also known as an immigrant car, since most immigrants would only be able to afford this lower fare.

When the heroine faints from lack of nourishment, the hero, a physician traveling home after a conference in Philadelphia, takes her under his care and offers to buy her a meal in the dining car.

According to The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s, the dining car was first introduced in the year 1863 on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore lines. The car was a restaurant with an eating bar and simple steambox to keep precooked foods warm. But by 1868, the lavish Pullman Dining Car employed cooks, busboys and even waiters to serve food to passengers seated at tables. These cars only accommodated wealthier passengers, as no third-class and very few second-class passengers could afford the cost of a meal.

Food options for the lower classes included butcher boys who sold sandwiches and other snacks or bringing your own food with you. Most third-class passengers brought picnic baskets to eat on the ride and stoves were provided for those who wished to cook their meals.

For more information: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon

Also visit these sites: http://www.laparks.org/grifmet/tt/htmgallery/gallery_pass/penncar.htm


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Found the first review of Dreaming Josie at Amazon–5 star customer review!

In part: “I loved Dreaming Josie. It’s a great love story with paranormal elements. I love the way Ms. Macatee switches between the present time and the past. The switches are done seamlessly and kept me reading. I couldn’t put this book down…”

Full review: http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Josie-ebook/product-reviews/B008FZSPLS/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

And now available as a Nook book!

Dreaming Josie is also still available for FREE at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/177360 until July 31st.

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Before leaving his room, George penned a hasty letter to Cassidy explaining he must leave but would be back as soon as possible. He didn’t want to divulge any more in case the letter landed in the wrong hands. He didn’t have time to hand deliver it.

He sealed the post, then splashed water on his face and shrugged into his vest and coat.

He grabbed the packed bag and thudded down the stairs, stopping at the front desk. His jaw still ached from his encounter with Madison, and he’d spent a good portion of Sunday night pacing his hotel room worrying about Cassidy.

The clerk, Mr. Stanton, glanced up as George dropped his suitcase and handed him the sealed note. “You look like you got run over by a train, Mister.”

George ran a hand over his stubble. “Reckon I feel like I have.”

The clerk leaned on the counter and eyed him. “Are you checking out, sir?”

“No. I’ll just be out of town for a few days. I hope you can hold my room until I return.”

The man nodded. “Either that room or another. We don’t see much business.”

George grinned. “Thanks. I will be back.”

“You the one had the run in with Doc Madison?” Stanton narrowed his gaze.

George scowled. “Word does get around.”

“Over Miss Stuart, wasn’t it?” The man’s salt and pepper brow arched. “Fighting over the little lady, you were.”

George detected admiration in the man’s gaze. “Maybe I didn’t like the way he touched her.”

Stanton grinned. “Well, sir, I wish you luck.” He squinted. “Folks here tell me you used to live in Burkeville.”

“A long time ago, but I left just after the war.” George handed Stanton the letter. “Could you please be sure Miss Stuart gets this?”

The man smiled. “I’ll take it to her myself.” He nodded. “Yes, sir, I’ll get this right out for you today.”

“Thank you.” George reached into his pocket extracting a few coins, thankful the clerk didn’t ask any questions.

As he turned to leave, Stanton warned, “You’d best get some rest, sir. Maybe you should get Miss Stuart to give you a look over before you leave.” He winked.

“Don’t have time. Have to catch the next train out.” George turned away.

He strode to the train station, wishing he’d had more time to explain to Cassidy. As he neared the platform, he caught sight of a well-dressed woman with chestnut hair standing by the ticket office, suitcases beside her.

Mrs. Claymore.

He stepped to her side. “Don’t tell me you’re going to Philadelphia too?”

She smirked, then her face colored. “No, Mr. Masters, I’m headed for New York. But I will be joining you in Philadelphia in a few days so I can relay your findings back to the agency…” She sighed. “You know we can’t risk—”

“I know,” he said. “Can’t risk telegraphs or the mail.” He lifted his suitcase as well as one of hers. A porter grasped the other one.

“After you, ma’am,” George said.

She nodded and preceded him into the train. He hoped to hell this wouldn’t get back to Cassidy, but knowing this town as well as he did, was sure as hell it would.

Find more info and read opening chapters at my website http://www.susanmacatee.com

Cassidy’s War available from The Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_135&products_id=4729

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Cassidys-War-ebook/dp/B006VX48FS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1326644295&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidys-war-susan-macatee/1108210226?ean=2940013754980&itm=1&usri=cassidy%27s+war

and All Romance Ebooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-cassidy039swar-672840-158.html

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For my new work-in-progress, The Physician’s Irish Lady, the heroine is about to board a train and splurges on a second class ticket, since she can’t abide sitting in the open third class car. But now, she doesn’t have enough cash to buy a meal on the train. Her solution is to buy a loaf of bread to munch on during the long ride.

So, what type of coin would be required to purchase such a meal?

According to the reference book, The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s, in the early 1800s in mostly rural America, money was rarely used. Farmers relied on barter or trade to make purchases, most never having seen a silver dollar.

By mid to late 1800, the situation changed as people left farming to work at jobs in the growing cities. By this time, more ready made goods of a wide variety were available for purchase.

Coinage changed over the years with such names as bit, coppers, dime, eagle and double eagle, elevenpence, fip, gold dollar, silver dollar, half cent, half dime and half dollar. The wide variety of currency names were due to the influence of English, Spanish and other foreign coinage. Some coins even had nicknames, as in levy for elevenpence.  There were also combination coins as in: three-cent piece, three-dollar gold piece, twenty-cent piece and two-cent piece.

Paper money was known as United States Notes. The legal tender notes or greenbacks had been issued by the US government in 1862 in the northern states, during the Civil War. The original dollar bill didn’t have a portrait of George Washington, but instead Salmon Chase, Secretary of Treasury, in the upper left hand corner. The familiar George Washington dollar bill was first printed in 1869.

Source: The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon. Writer’s Digest Books, 1993, Cincinnati, Ohio

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