in History of American Civil War Regiments
Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.
Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is a sweeping epic of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood amid devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.
“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”
- Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hillmakes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.
Five years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.
Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.
Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.
Yet one Georgia town—which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name—stands defiant in his path.
Read the remarkable story of the Southern women who formed America’s most famous female militia and the Union officer whose life they changed forever.
An amazing narrative of the Civil War and the convergence of two historical characters begin in May, 1856 with the introduction of sixteen year old Nancy (Nannie) Colquitt Hill (Morgan) of LaGrange, Georgia, and Hugh LaGrange of rural Wisconsin. (Amazing coincidence, huh?)
In a trade off of biographies between these two major characters of the north and south, the reader is embroiled in the minutia of a young southern belle at her “coming out” ball wherein she is introduced to society, all the better to prime for the search of a suitable husband. She certainly has her eye on the match at that point, strongly contested by another of the area’s well-heeled targets.
A large portion of the book delves into the lives of the two–Nannie in her immature societal connivances and Hugh in his innocent induction into the Underground Railroad. Well developed, the novel issues into the Civil War and gradually into the bloody underbelly of battles, barbaric hospitals, disease, starvation, and the indictment of impotent officers as well as the politicians pulling the puppet strings of the conflagration. In the meantime, Nannie has come to the realization that she must follow in the footsteps of a well known female militia leader of the Revolutionary war, Nancy Hart, and create her own band of 40 women who become the “Nancy Harts.”
The women, left in a town nearly devoid of men, proceed to care for the wounded, managing food and supplies where little exists.
As the story progresses to conclusion and the obvious confrontation by the Union forces behind Colonel LaGrange and Captain Nancy Hill Morgan defending her town from being burned to the ground, the tension ramps. His orders are to “destroy any town that offers resistance.” Will his forces indeed be forced into an armed conflict with a brigade of women? The women are a formidable force, having been trained, and are armed and ready.
But women sometimes battle differently.
So much history here, so many stories of the Civil War, the most destructive of our nation, remaining the deadliest military conflict in American history, and accounted “for more American military deaths than all other wars combined until the Vietnam War.”*
The book includes pictures of these historic figures in American history. The novel another savage view of the war between our own north and south told in almost Shakespearean quality prose, southern vernacular, and harsh reality.
Any reader of historical fiction, Civil War history, and the strengths and roles that strong women can rise to meet in the face of conflict will enjoy this novel. My only problem—the length.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and these are my unbiased opinions. The CE previously read and reviewed The Yanks are Starving, also lengthy but excellent.
Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars
Genre: History of American Civil War Regiments, History of Women in the American Civil War, History of the US Confederacy
Publisher: Brigid’s Fire Press
Print Length: 590 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2021
Source: Direct author request
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The Author: A native Hoosier, Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He practiced trial law before attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and then joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial. After heading west to Hollywood, he won the Nicholl Fellowship prize from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences for best new screenwriting.
The recipient of numerous fiction awards, he is a three-time Finalist for Foreword’s Book of the Year. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Committee. His historical fiction and mystery-thrillers have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to Scotland of Robert the Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, into the tunnels of ancient Jerusalem, along the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.
He lives in southern California.
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