Monday, November 26, 2012

Musings on the Novel's Title

My first blog post talked briefly about the reasons for this blog and its importance to understanding the history behind the novel, None But Heroes.

In this installment, I am going to show the actual historical quote and circumstances behind my choice of the words for the book's title.

In the second volume of his Lee's Lieutenants (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1943), Douglas Southall Freeman concentrates the major focus of the book on Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. The book is, however, a treasure trove of other highly useful information about the Army of Northern Virginia and about many of the historical characters found in the novel, including James Longstreet and Daniel Harvey Hill.

In Chapter VIII, Freeman describes the many weighty matters that General Lee and other officers had to weigh as the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to move northward into Maryland. The many weeks of marching and fighting by the men of the army had worn them down to the point where straggling became a serious and major problem; the coming campaign in Maryland did little to alleviate the issue and concerns on all levels on how to effectively deal with it.

Alexander Cheves Haskell, a Captain at the time on the staff of Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg of Major General A P Hill's famed Light Division, wrote about the straggling issues in a letter to his sister (Louise Haskell Daly) that, as the campaign began and continued, the "weak solider fell away with the indifferent" as Freeman put it, until "none but heroes are left" (Volume II, Lee's Lieutenants, Chapter VIII "The Imponderables of Invasion", pg. 149, footnote 26.). There were many in the Army of Northern Virginia who justly claimed the very flower of General Lee's army made the crossing and campaign into Maryland in September, 1862.

Next post will talk about the choice of cover art and give you all some information about the very talented artist who did the original painting.

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