Thursday, October 30, 2014

A woman's experiences as a Civil War soldier

In Flat Creek, New York, feelings of patriotism filled the land in 1862.

Young Rosetta Edwards falls in love with Jeremy Wakefield. They discuss his enlisting in the army as a way to save for their own farm. Being a younger son, he knows that the family farm will go to the eldest son.

Once Jeremy enlists and leaves for military training, Rosetta feels alone. Her love for Jeremy is intense and after she learns that she has even been replaced in her own family, she makes a decision. She used to milk the cows and help at her parent's farm but her father hired someone to help with the farm after her marriage.

With this rejection, brave and impetuous Rosetta, cuts her hair, binds her chest and dresses as a man. Then she follows Jeremy to Utica, New York and enlists as Ross Stone. She claims to be Jeremy's cousin so they are placed in the same company.

Jeremy is torn in what to do and wants to keep his wife from danger but Rosetta shows her courage and disagrees with him. Then she travels to war with Jeremy and the other soldiers.

In a letter to her parents she uses a Bible verse to state that as they say in the Bible, a wife should cling to her husband.

It is heart wrenching to see the love between the two and what they must do to avoid detection. Of course, some of Jeremy's friends knew Rosetta at home but they form a protective band around her.

Problems arise and some are handled with humor such as when the soldiers decide to go for an impromptu swim. They undress to their skivvies and jump in the water. Rosetta must think of a reason why she isn't joining the fun.

The story is told from Rosetta's point of view and becomes more intense when she visits a military hospital and sees what war can do to the severely wounded men. She also had to deal with men in battle when some of Jeremy's old friends thought she was a distraction.

This was a well told story, good characters and vivid descriptions of the scenes. It was still a bit hard to see Rosetta/Ross fooling so many people, many who were gruff and supporting beards.

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