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Marching Through Culpeper Review by Amanda Hopkins

A Novel of Culpeper, Virginia
Virginia Beard Morton
Edgehill Books
19117 Edgehill Place
Culpeper, VA 22701

When you want to find a book to read that will draw you into the Civil War, you want one that will give you details, but also a story. Virginia B. Morton does just this with Marching Through Culpeper: A Novel of Culpeper, Virginia.

I was thrilled to have the chance to add this book to our American History Studies. I was a little surprised by the size, 500+ pages, but I knew I was going to read it. I am glad that I did. Marching Through Culpeper is a book that I have fallen in love with. This is a history book, but with a storyline to go with the history!

We meet Constance Armstrong at the beginning of the story. She lives with her family on the family farm in Culpeper Virginia. We are immediately drawn in to her spunk and love of life and family. But they are a political family, her father, Charles is a judge. While sitting around the dinner table, we hear them talk of the possibility of Lincoln becoming the new president and that he wanted to free the slaves. This of course brought talk of war, being Virginia was a border state between the North and the South, the Armstrong family doesn’t know what they would do if Lincoln became president and a war broke out.

We follow the Armstrong family through this time, from this very beginning until the very end of the war. We see the ups and the downs that Constance and her family must deal with. While this family is a fictional family, we are also introduced to people we may know like Colonel Jackson, Jefferson Davis, General J.E.B. Stuart, General A.P. Hill, General George Armstrong Custer, and Major John Pelham to name a few of the many great leaders.

As we follow along with the Armstrong family, in particular Constance, we see all sides of the war. The good and the bad. We see the treatment of civilians from the soldiers, people being kicked out of the homes for the soldiers to have a place to stay, the limiting of food or lack thereof. And we see how the soldier feel. Leaving their families for extended periods of time, even leaving their wives behind who are pregnant. This plays a role on them as well as their family.

Constance deals with a lot through this war. She loses those she loves and falls in love with a soldier. She works hard to support the soldiers, making socks and bandages, yet not having food to feed even herself. She must help with supporting those who are left in her family while dealing with her own grief over who has been lost, or not yet home. We laugh with her, cry with her and hope with her. The way that Virginia Morton wrote this book, brings us right into it, we are on the fronts with the soldiers, but also home worrying with the women.

The storyline in this book brings the history into our lives. We feel the same feelings as the characters, whomever they may be. We see all the points of view and feel for all sides. Adding the fictional storyline into the historical timeline makes for a great combination. I enjoyed reading this book, and my 17-year-old son is also enjoying it. Did you see that, we both have different tastes in stories, but we both enjoyed this novel.

If you are looking for a book that will appease both the romantics and the action lovers in your house, look no further. You will be able to add some serious history to your lives with this well written novel.

—Product review by Amanda Hopkins, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018