This novel is the first installment of a planned series of five works covering the actions of the little-known men of the Marine Corps, both Federal and Confederate.
Written by a retired Navy Commander and co-founder of a U.S. Marine Civil War reenacting unit, the capture of John Brown is a historically accurate fictional accounting of the prewar event in which the Marines played a commanding role.
Sumner does a remarkable job of fleshing out the historical account of the suppression of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry by the Marine contingent led by Lt Israel Greene under the leadership of Bvt. Col. Robert E. Lee of the U.S. Army, assisted by Army Lt. J.E.B. Stuart.
The pages are filled with period detail; the dialogue is believable and very enjoyable.
Sumner offers plausible explanations of mysteries such as why the Marines resorted to using a ladder as a battering ram to gain entrance to the Armory engine house and why Lieutenant Greene's sword bent when striking Brown.
Even though this is a work of fiction, Sumner includes a section of photographs of the characters and maps of the Harper's Ferry environs. There is also a roster of the Marine contingent and a biography of the one Marine to be fatally wounded in the fight.
The quality of this novel makes one look forward eagerly to the future installments of the story of the Leathernecks in the Civil War. So as the pre-"Semper Fi!" Marines would exclaim --"Fortitudine!"--With Courage.
Oddly enough, the United States Marines' role during the capture of the abolitionist John Brown at Harper's Ferry, October 1859, has been wholly overlooked and virtually forgotten – even by the Marines themselves.
Why were the Marines sent? Who were they? How were they organized? How did they prepare for the journey to Harper's Ferry? (Harpers Ferry is our modern spelling of the town's name. What happened to the apostrophe in "Harper's" after our Civil War is an unsolved mystery.)
What credibly took place after the Marines arrived? What kind of a wooden ladder could do what three heavy millwright sledgehammers could not? How and why did the sword that struck down John Brown bend? As one studies the Marines' involvement in this bygone confrontation, more and more questions present themselves and demand explanation.
Now, more than one hundred and sixty years after the event, this historical novel offers an in-depth look at the actions of those heroic, but forgotten, Marines. Although fictional dialogue has been incorporated to give "life" to the story, historical accuracy has been preserved as correctly as possible.
Available Editions: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover.
This edition includes over 300 informational annotations (incorporated within the text instead of at the back of the book), which are intended to provide each reader with appreciable knowledge about the Marines of the era, their history, and their general military lifestyle. The annotations will also enhance the reader's knowledge about the B&O Railroad, the town of Harper's Ferry, the U.S. Armory/Arsenal, and John Brown's Raid.
The complementing 48-page Appendix also provides visually enlightening material that will increase the readers' enjoyment beyond the storyline and, hopefully, entice many to seek more information about the historical facts presented herein.
Available in Paperback or Hardcover.
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