First Edition.
Publisher, Date:
Farmington Hills, Mich. : Gale Cengage Learning, [2014]
232 pages ; 23 cm.
It's the spring of 1864, and times are hard in Washington County, Arkansas, especially for thirteen-year-old Travis Ford. He hasn't heard from his father, a sergeant in the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, in months. His mother is struggling to make ends meet on the family farm near Poison Spring. All Travis really wants to do is to follow his passion--to make up adventure stories in the style of Alexandre Dumas. But the Civil War keeps getting in his way. When the Confederate Army withdraws and Federal forces--including the First Kansas Colored Volunteers--take control of Washington County, Travis and his family are caught in the middle. All too soon, Travis must put away his pencil and paper and make a choice, between North and South, black and white, right and wrong, horror and humanity, something that could get him, and everyone he loves, killed. Johnny D. Boggs brings life to a relatively obscure Civil War tragedy--the massacre of black soldiers by Confederates during the Battle of Poison Spring--by telling the story through the eyes of a young boy watching his world unravel while his strong-willed mother tries to keep her family out of harm's way, an impossible task in a war-ravaged land.
9781432827656 (hardcover)
1432827650 (hardcover)
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Travis Ford lives on an Arkansas farm while his father is away in the Civil War, and as his mother tries to protect the family, becomes a witness to the massacre of the First Kansas Colored Volunteers unit by Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Poison Spring in 1864. - (Baker & Taylor)

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Thirteen-year-old Travis Ford views the latter days of the Civil War from his impoverished, though relatively safe, farm in Washington County, Arkansas, where his valiant mother holds together the farm and her family of three until Travis' father can return from his posting with the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry. Travis has plenty of chores but likes to retreat to the family's old sawmill, where he dreams of Dumas-like adventures and writes stories in a notebook the proud cotton grower (and slave owner) Miss Mary Frederick gave him. All changes when the war intrudes, and Confederates and Yankees alike vie for nearby Camden and a place called Poison Spring. The Fords lose their mules and chickens, and the family almost dies when a radical Southern preacher turns against Travis' mother, who has abolitionist leanings. But in large part because of Travis' cleverness and bravery, the family survives, until the Kansas Colored Infantry win in Camden, then are driven back and massacred by Texans at Poison Spring. Boggs brings a little-known battle to life, framing it around a moving coming-of-age story. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.


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