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13 Days at Andersonville:
The Trial of the Raiders
by Phillip J. Tichenor
By summer of 1864, the bloody Civil War was more than 3 years old. Gettysburg and Vicksburg victories a year earlier had failed to end it.
In June, the disastrous Union assault at Cold Harbor caused 5,000 Union casualties.
Union troops under General Hunter were destroying Shenandoah Valley farms. Confederates faced starvation. General R. E. Lee ordered Jubal Early to save the Valley and the South’s granary. He also told Early, secretly, to attack Washington D. C.
Meanwhile, prisoner exchange had stopped. At Andersonville Prison in Georgia, some 30,000 captured Union soldiers were packed into a 20-acre stockade. More than 12,000 died.
Making the horror worse, gangs of “Raiders” terrorized the Andersonville stockade…until their capture. A Court Martial of prisoners put the gang on trial.
This trial is unique in military history, but the transcript has never been found.
All these elements come together in this novel, in which:
Sgt. Lucius McCordle is captured at Cold Harbor and sent to the notorious prison.
He is a small-town lawyer on the Western frontier, where patriotic fervor for saving the Union is not matched by general sympathy for African Americans.
Lucius can’t forget a tumultuous former romance with Maryanne Callander, whose work with the Underground Railroad confronted Lucius’ lingering doubts about emancipation.
He has one unshaken belief: Every accused person, no matter how heinous the crime, is entitled to a fair trial and a vigorous defense. No convicted person, he believes, should be executed.
Acting on these principles has led him to confrontations with town leaders—especially a local judge-turned-regimental colonel who had kept Lucius from becoming an officer.
Lucius arrives at Andersonville shortly before the Raiders are captured.
He volunteers to defend these thugs in the court martial, and discovers that:
His friend Harry, and one-time fiancé of Maryanne, is involved with the Raiders;
A Raider chieftain has a copy of General Lee’s secret order to Early to attack Washington; and
The judge he alienated at home is also a prisoner at Andersonville and will preside over the Court Martial of the Raiders.
How will Lucius defend the Raiders? And how can he get the secret orders to General Ulysses Grant?
Phillip J. Tichenor, retired journalism teacher, is co-author of
Civil War P.O.W.: Life and Death of a Farmer-Lawyer-Soldier (biography)
And Athena’s Forum, a novel
Available at Amazon.com.http://www.amazon.com/13-Days-Andersonv ... 562&sr=1-1