I was reshaping my Civil War chapter, with a scene on May 12, 1861 — with soldiers in the newborn Union Army singing a song for John Brown. That happened at Boston’s Fort Warren, on the harbor’s Georges Island. As I was trying to evoke that day, I realized a potential problem; I’d begunContinue reading “Oceanside soldiers, John Brown, and how the Civil War flips the script on dissent”
This day 150 years ago was, of course, pivotal to many of the figures in Ain’t Marching- from Quaker CO’s like Jesse Macy to Lewis H. Douglass.
So for my Civil War chapter I couldn’t resist from painting the scene myself, including its immediate aftermath. We can go on for days about who therein counts as a dissenting soldier, triply on that New Years’ Day — but how not?
The quietude here has been almost a good sign: I’m finally sucked in by the book. I walk to the gym thinking about Donelson Caffery and Lewis Douglass, sleep followed by the ghost of Bierce. I then have to remember to work in the data I sort of started with, about desertion and dissent andContinue reading “of body counts and word counts”
I spend so much time celebrating the courage of soldiers that some might wonder where the old peacenik had got to. (If some old classmate from Binghamton stumbled here, e.g., what they might remember most is my play Too Many Martyrs, a melodrama about the U.S.-to-Canada draft resister underground railroad.) But as I construct myContinue reading “Quakers in uniform: oxymoron, or profound truth?”