Morgan Huddleston and Jeremy Wiggins have shared a classroom for three years, disliking each other the whole time and always in constant competition. Then a fourth grade social studies assignment reveals they are directly connected by tragic events that occurred 150 years earlier. Morgan and Jeremy contact their relatives and learn they both had a great-great-great grandfather at the Battle of Chickamauga — but on opposite sides. Morgan’s distant grandfather fought for the Confederacy there, while Jeremy’s distant grandfather was a Union soldier and was killed in the battle. So the big “What if…?” question is raised in the classroom. How the two students arrive at a resolution that ends their own uncivil war is the heartening conclusion to the story.
Using contemporary settings, flashbacks based on historical characters and units, preserved family letters, and actual battlefield events at Chickamauga, “The Uncivil War” demonstrates how history can become magically alive when its students become personally involved.
Targeted Age Group: 8-15
I am a retired elementary school teacher, living in Lakewood, WA, with my artist wife, who provided the interior illustrations for my book. Having followed a life-long interest in Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, I continue to research, write, and speak about that period to schools and professional groups throughout the west coast. And as a Civil War re-enactor, I often have the opportunity to portray Minnesota’s 1861 governor, Alexander Ramsey, who sent my g-g-grandfather (and more than 26,000 other good Minnesota men) into the war to preserve the Union.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The last dozen years I taught fourth grade, I used the 100 letters from my great-great grandfather (which are central to the story) as my primary resource to introduce my students to the American Civil War. Over the years, numerous classroom incidents repeatedly confirmed this very personal approach to studying a historical period. Then when I retired, I decided to use the letters again, this time in a historical fiction format, to continue interesting students in that pivotal period of our history. It was students who had discovered their own, previously unknown to them, family connections to the war that was my inspiration!