Why I Wrote The Drummer's Call
Second to geography, history was my least favorite subject in school. I had no interest in memorizing names of historical events, important dates, or significant people. Instead, I was plagued with curiosity about the daily lives of the everyday individuals who lived during these events. What did they eat? What did they wear? How did they spend their days? How did they brush their teeth (or did they)? To my disappointment, little or no time was spent discussing what I thought was most important.
As a parent, I am very familiar with the daily lives of teenagers. Most simply cannot imagine life without the internet, television, cell phones, electricity, running water or advanced modes of travel. However, except for the last two centuries, mankind has managed to survive without these conveniences. I thought it would be interesting to write a story about a typical teenager living in the present who is thrown into the past and forced to learn to survive. My dilemma was to figure out where in history my character should end up.
It was through my interest in genealogy that I found my answer. While working on my family tree, I discovered that two of my great-great-great-grand-uncles, James and Adrastus Tolle, had been Union soldiers during the Civil War. They were enlisted with the 21st KY Infantry and fought at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, TN. I also learned from a family member that my great-great-grand-uncle, Joseph Haas, was a Civil War Union drummer. Rumor has it he met both President Lincoln and General Grant, and received 850 acres in land grants that were signed by President Lincoln himself. Armed with this knowledge about my family, I decided that my character would become a Civil War drummer who participates in the Battle of Stones River. After the book was written, I also discovered one more interesting fact: my daughter’s great-great-great-great paternal grandfather was fighting with the Confederates on the opposite side of Stones River.
When I began writing The Drummer’s Call, I knew little or nothing about the Civil War or the daily lives of drummers or soldiers. Hundreds of hours of research later, I have nothing but the utmost admiration for these individuals. They endured months, if not years, of hardship in the form of bloody battles, famine, illness, horrible injuries or death.
I also discovered during my research that there were many differing accounts of the daily lives of drummers. One source even stated that very little was written at the time about the drummers, so it was difficult to know for sure what exactly they did all day. I was lucky enough to find a few journals written by drummer boys. Based upon the research I have conducted, I stand by my account of the daily drum schedules and duties detailed in The Drummer’s Call.
I hope that you enjoy reading The Drummer’s Call as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Civil War, Eyewitness Books by John Stanchack
Civil War Slang, Civil War Preservation Trust
Drum Taps in Dixie: Memories of a Drummer Boy by Delavan S. Miller
Drummer Boy: The Civil War Diary of Edwin Hale Lincoln by Karl Marty & Lee C. Drickamer
Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon
Everyday Life: The Civil War by Walter A. Hazen
Guide to Civil War Nashville by Mark Zimmerman
Kentucky: A History of the State by W. H. Perrin, J.H. Battle & G.C. Kniffin
Nashville Then and Now by Karina McDaniel
The Drummers’ and Fifers’ Guide by George B. Bruce & Dan D. Emmett
The Battle of Stones River; No Better Place to Die by Peter Cozzens
The Recollections of a Drummer Boy by Harry M. Keiffer
Winter Lightning, A Guide to the Battle of Stones River by Matt Spruill & Lee Spruill
A Drummer Boy’s Diary http://archive.org/details/drummerboysdiary00birc
Bands Battled on Eve of Stones River Clash http://www.murfreesboropost.com/bands-battled-on-eve-of-stones-river-clash-cms-1506
Breckinridge's Charge - Stones River National Battlefield http://www.nps.gov/stri/historyculture/breckinridge.htm
Caring for the Men: The History of Civil War Medicine http://civilwarhome.com/civilwarmedicineintro.htm
Civil War http://www.civilwar.com/
Civil War Drummer, R.C. Murphy http://www.wildcatband.com/ropedrums.html
Civil War Fife and Drum Page: Schedule of Calls http://reocities.com/cwfifedrum/schedule.html
Daily Life of a Drummer Boy http://www.theyoungcampaigner.com/2007/11/daily-life-of-a.html
First New Mexico Field Music Tactics, Dave Poulin http://www.1stnmvi.com/first_new_mexico_field_music.html
Life of a Civil War Soldier, John Heiser http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/soldierlife/cwarm.htm
National Park Service – The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/template.cfm
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No Way to Celebrate Christmas 1862 http://www.murfreesboropost.com/no-way-to-celebrate-christmas-1862-cms-1545
Old Pictures – Civil War http://www.old-picture.com/
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Questia – Private Flemming at Chancellorsville http://www.questia.com/reader/action/gotoDocId/113703762
Questia - The Reluctant Witness: Children’s Voices From the Civil War, Emmy E. Werner http://www.questia.com/reader/action/gotoDocId/8920256
Shades of Gray and Blue http://www.civilwarshades.org/map-of-tennessee-with-its-roads
Stones River Campaign http://americancivilwar.com/statepic/tn/tn010.html
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Stones River Campaign: The Stone River campaign--1862-63. Organization of the Fourteenth Army Corps (1883) http://archive.org/details/stonerivercampai00unit
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