Tormented by Southern partisans, Missouri farm boy Caleb Cole joins the Union's 18th Missouri. About the same time, down on the Texas coast, violin-playing Ryan McCalla, from a well-to-do family, enlists in the Confederacy's 2nd Texas -- mainly in the spirit of adventure -- with some friends.
The two teen-agers are about to grow up quickly.
Fate will bring the two together -- along with a teen-age girl from Corinth, Mississippi, when the Confederate and Union armies clash at Shiloh, Tennessee, and then again in the town of Corinth.
They will learn that war is far from glorious.
Booklist: "Boggs captures the quick terror of combat in harsh scenes that bring to mind The Red Badge of Courage and Ambrose Bierce's 'What I Saw at Shiloh.' Students of the battle will note his flawless research."
Historical Novels Review: "Boggs has managed to present a fascinating story of fictional characters who fought in and around the town of Corinth and on the battlefield of Shiloh"
And There I'll Be a Soldier
Five Star, 2012
An Excerpt from And There I'll Be a Soldier
August 6, 1861
Putnam County, Missouri
He stood ankle-deep in pig dung, slogging through a pen filled with squealing Durocs and snorting Poland Chinas. Even with his rubber boots and thick gloves, he knew he'd stink for the rest of the week since one of those ill-tempered big red hogs had charged and knocked him onto his hindquarters. Probably would carry the stench the rest of his life. So when Jimmy Crawford came riding up the road, Caleb welcomed the chance to climb out of the muck and sit on the top rail, maybe catch a breeze in the sweltering heat but at least escape the stink for a while.
"What you doing?" Jimmy called out after reining to a stop. In lieu of a saddle, the lanky teen sat on a worn woolen blanket, and instead of a bridle, he used a horsehair-hitched hackamore.
"What's it look like?" Caleb Cole shook his head.
Jimmy shot a worried glance at the house. "Your pa around?"
Caleb shook his head. "He went off this morning to Bryant Station to haggle with Mister Metzger." Haggle, Caleb thought with disgust, over another big red Duroc. As if we don't have enough already.
"Bessy? Your ma?"
He didn't bother to answer. "Why aren't you working at the sawmill?"
Jimmy Crawford sat up straighter, blue eyes straining first toward the cabin and then across the Cole farm. He work duck trousers, a sweat-stained blue shirt, and no hat. He wiped sweat off his brow, and lowered his voice.
"Ezra Meachem says some Rebs are recruiting and drilling at Unionville."
The mule snorted.
"Your pa's been preaching abolition and the Union forever since you moved here," Caleb reminded his friend and neighbor.
"I know that." Another quick look to make sure nobody could overhear, which irked Caleb. These hogs, sows and piglets wouldn't tell anyone what Jimmy Crawford planned. "But I figured it couldn't urt to watch them. Be fun and downright interesting. Thought you might like to tag along with me and see for yourself."
Now, it was Caleb's turn to look at the house. ...
Copyright 2012 by Johnny D. Boggs