While I write historical fiction it’s not VERY historical. I have yet to venture back past the 1930s. But I DO sometimes reference more distant history.
The Right Kind of Fool is set in Beverly, WV, a very historic town. But the bit of history that’s best known is the Civil War Battle of Rich Mountain. Well, I couldn’t leave that out altogether could I? So I worked it in as a part of a fictional annual pageant put on by the children of the town during the annual fair.
It’s a pretty great story–here’s the short of it from the book:
A narrator stepped onto the stage and set the scene, explaining how General McClellan had been tasked with protecting the
railroad and securing the counties of what was western Virginia in those days. Then Bud Corrick’s boy Chuck climbed onto the stage and made a speech about the dangers of a frontal attack. He’d played General McClellan for several years, but Delphy noticed that he was showing unexpected energy this time. He had a twinkle in his eye and a bounce in his step.
Delphy knew Michael would come out next as young David Hart, who would offer to lead the general and his men through the dense rhododendron and laurel hells to flank the enemy on Rich Mountain. Then she’d get to see Loyal come out to follow
Michael and Chuck all over the park as if it were the side of a mountain. Most years there were some kids who hammed it
up, acting like they were clawing their way up steep hillsides and pushing through dense underbrush. One year, somebody
decided to liven up the show by hollering that he’d been snake bit.
Suffice it to say the reenactment doesn’t go as well as the original battle which resulted in Brigadier General William Rosencrans (under McClellan’s command) leading 2,000 men up the mountain in rain (they got lost briefly) to a Confederate outpost at the top. After a two-hour battle, the Rebels were defeated and General McClellan’s reputation was made!
If you visit Beverly, you’ll find historic markers and even some Civil War graffiti. Just swing by Historic Beverly Antiques in what was once the David Goff house to see drawings preserved behind plexiglass as well as a variety of artifacts found over the years. Almost makes me want to write a Civil War era novel!