Will Bannon, at age thirty, is the sheriff of Culpepper County, his brother Matt is twenty-five and a better horseman, Titus is twenty-three, a born hunter, and Henry, a rambunctious age nineteen, a mixture of the others. Their younger sister is Cordelia.
The family reminded me of the 1965 movie, Shenandoah, with Jimmy Stewart. This family also had a peaceful life and tried to stay apart from the war.
With the Bannon's, there are a number of incidents with the Fogarty brothers and Joe Fogarty resists arrest, Will is forced to kill him. Thereafter, the two remaining brothers seek reprisal against the Bannons.
Will's mother takes an unusual step of disowning him for his actions in that he disobeyed God's commandment about killing another man. When the war begins, Will becomes one of the first to enlist. Being a former sheriff and having a horse, he is made a captain.
The book tells of the universal enthusiasm and optimism for the war, even from the local preacher. None of the hardships or terrible days ahead are even imagined.
We follow Will and his man as they come under Brigadier General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. The men prepare for their first encounter against the hated Yankees while at home, the Brannon's manage well. The women sew uniforms and do patriotic things for the soldiers while the men in the family continue to obey their mother and operate their farm.
I enjoyed the story and remembering details that led up to the start of the war. Will Brannon is an enjoyable character to follow and the book provided an easy read for those who enjoy historical events about the start of the Civil War.