Under a Black Flag
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Under a Black Flag
In Kansas and Missouri, the War Between the States started long before Fort Sumter. As it escalates to a declared war, follow Daniel , Rebecca and André, as they deal with the war's brutal consequences.
Throw into the mix the larger-than-life characters who played a part in the sectional violence which led the nation into its bloodiest war and you have a novel with all the drama of the era. You'll meet James Lane, JEB Stuart, Robert E. Lee, Joseph Shelby, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and the other men and women who have shaped this nation into what it is today. You will never look at any of them as just characters in a history book again. This is a historical novel unlike any you have ever read before. It is a blend of history, action and romance. Facts read like fiction, and fiction could have been fact. It is a story of a time that changed a nation and a handful of people who lived and died in our nation's most colorful era.
Reviews for Under a Bloody Flag:
“Great story! I can’t wait for the next book to come out.” Lydia Hawke, author of Civil War novels Firetrail, Perfect Disguise, Exiles On The St. Johns, and Raiders On The St. John
“Splendid!” Renée Gordon, staff-writer for the Philadelphia Sunday Sun.
“Really loved the characters in this one. Of course, now I'm worried about what kind of jeopardy you're going to expose them to in the sequel and if they'll survive!” Barbara Sachs Sloan, author of FOCUS: A Blueprint for a Happier Life.
Dan and André were looking over their flourishing winter wheat crop. Dan and Becky's dogs, Mason and Dixon, frolicked nearby. Future prospects were looking good until Dan heard the dogs stop their play and begin barking. He looked into the woods where both dogs were staring and saw a group of mounted men paused at the edge of the trees. He turned toward André. "Can you make out what uniform those men are wearing?"
Unless someone pointed out that the two men were half-brothers, no one would guess considering André's African heritage was clearly stamped on his features even though he was just a few shades darker than Dan. André's ebony hair had a lot of curl, whereas Dan's wavy light brown hair had glints of blond streaked through it by the Kansas sun. Both men were tall and slim with broad shoulders. André looked where Dan pointed. "Not too clearly with the sun in my eyes, but I would say they are not friends."
Realizing they had been observed, the men came charging out of the brush. As they got closer, Dan got a better look at them. The leader of the pack was a short man with a Cossack cap on his head and the uniform of Jim Lane's 7th Kansas Cavalry. Dan groaned. "Looks like Doc Jennison's Redlegs. Not friendly for sure. Wish I brought my guns out with us now."
André replied, "Wouldn't do much good. There must be thirty or so of them vermin. Maybe we can bluff our way out, but not much chance of winning a gun battle at those odds."
Every Southerner dreaded a visit from the Redlegs, so called because of the red gaiters on their legs. Their leader, Charles Jennison, a bandy little man, patrolled the area near the Missouri border and made a practice of robbing and killing anyone with any Southern connection.
They earned the soubrette when one of their members, Pat Devlin, also referred to as “Pat with a devil in him,” entered a Kansas border village with a horse so loaded down with loot it was almost hidden from view. Asked what he had been up to, Pat replied he’d been out "jayhawking." When asked what that term meant, Devlin stated, “I have been foraging off the enemy and while riding home on me beast, I bethought me of the bird we have in Ireland, we call the jayhawk, which takes delight in worryin’ its prey before devouring it, and I thought ‘jayhawking’ a good name for the business I was in meself.”
A local wag noted, “They gave themselves up to plundering, robbing and stealing from everybody and anybody. They pretended to be Free-State men – called themselves so – but any man with a little property was a Pro-Slavery man in their eyes, and ‘all horses were Pro-Slavery’”
Dan saw the little smirk on Jennison's face as he approached and knew there he faced a big problem. His rifle was in the cabin with his wife, Becky. She knew how to use it, but there were too many of these desperados even if he, Becky, André and André's wife, Renee, were armed and ready. At least Renee, a runaway slave, was relatively safe from this band since they proclaimed themselves Free-State men out to stamp out slavery and run any Southerners out of Kansas. Those they did not run out, they killed.
André spoke quietly just before the band got within earshot. "Remember to stay calm, Danny Boy, These men are really dangerous. Remember they hanged that old man, Samuel Scott, in his own yard."
Dan nodded. "I know. I'll keep my Irish temper under control and use my French cunning instead."
He recalled Jennison's pack of dogs, sanctioned by Jim Lane, hanged another man, Russ Hines. Their latest outrage had been to break into L.D. Moore’s home during the night and shoot him as he slept in his bed. Moore had been a member of a vigilante group sworn to stop the widespread horse theft in the area, most of it done by the Redlegs. Jennison decided to pay Moore a visit in the dead of night and teach him a lesson. After killing Moore, Jennison rode to the home of Mr. Hudson, whose wife was related to Moore. Jennison coolly informed Mrs. Hudson of the killing and demanded she provide breakfast for his party.
Dan knew André was right. His best chance was not to anger Jennison. The man had a very short fuse. Gritting his teeth, he tried for a civil tone. "You gentlemen looking for someone?'
Jennison reined his horse in so he looked down on Dan and André. He spat a stream of yellow tobacco. "Yeah, I sure am. I'm hunting down any slave holding Southerons." He shot a glance toward André. "You boy. You're free now. Ain't no need for you to be hoeing this lowlife's field. Git."
André didn't move. "We're partners. It's my field too."
Jennison snickered. He addressed the man riding next to him. "Funny partner for a Negro to have, huh Marshall?"
His eyes never left Dan. "What you doing in Kansas? It's a free territory and gonna be a free state soon. No place for the like of you."
Dan stared back at the little captain. "This is my claim. I'm neutral in this fight. André is not a slave; he is a free man. I freed him before I came to Kansas."
“Neutral?" Jennison laughed. "Neutrality is impossible; if you are patriots, you must fight; if your are traitors, you will be punished. Traitors will everywhere be treated as outlaws, enemies of God and man, too base to hold any description of property, and having no rights which loyal men are bound to respect. You have no right to this claim or any Kansas land.”
The man Jennison addressed as Marshall sneered. "Neutral? I think you are just another stinking traitor." He looked toward his commander. "Shall I take him for trial or just shoot him here?"