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Oliver the "Jonah"

While I was researching, It Took a War, I came across a chapter in Hardtack and Coffee (best Civil War book ever) about the "Jonahs" who were found in every squad in camp.  Here's the definition of a "Jonah" from Hardtack and Coffee by John D. Billings:


"Now, accidents will happen to the most careful and best of men, but the soldier whom I've been describing could be found in every squad in camp - that is, a man of his kind. Such men were called "Jonahs" on account of their ill luck. Perhaps this particular Jonah after getting his tin plate level full of hot pea-soup was sure, on entering the tent, to spill a part of it down somebody's back."-Hardtack and Coffee




Tenting on the Old Camp Ground




Music drifted in the night air. It was a melancholy song that caused Lucas to stop thinking and just listen with a heavy heart. -It Took a War


Tenting Tonight
By: Walter Kittredge
We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home
And friends we love so dear

On Site Research for It Took a War


Back in February I was in the thick of research for It Took a War. I had the opportunity to do a bit of on site research in Gettysburg! Meghan's posts on her research trip to Gettysburg made me remember that I never posted about mine! Better late than never, right?

In It Took a War, Joe fights with the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. There's a monument in Gettysburg for all the PA regiments and I found the 11th PA plaque. I was super excited!

Literary Updates

Just Finished Reading:
Very Good Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
God's Will - Meghan M. Gorecki


Review I posted on Amazon:

Meghan Gorecki weaved a truly lovely story of having faith during the hard times. The main characters, Kathy and Elliot have strengths and weaknesses, just like all of us. You'll find yourself learning alongside them and jotting down little gems of truth from Meghan's writing. She used her gift of writing given by God, and gave it back to Him in this beautiful story. I look forward to Meghan's future work!

My Research Binder


My favorite genre both to read and write is historical fiction and things can get really messy while collecting facts, creating fiction and trying to stay sane. While I was re-writing It Took a War I was constantly looking things up on the internet, writing down paragraphs of info from books, and basically going crazy because I had paper everywhere and I had no idea how to find what I needed anymore. So, I decided it was time to organize.

I divided the information with little tabs labeled with things like, Camp Curtin, Drills, 11th PA, Army Life, and Enlistment/Rally. I scanned and printed pages out of books, printed internet articles, made (somewhat) organized notes, and highlighted certain passages. It's made life a whole lot easier.

Coffee the Way Civil War Soldiers Made It

Yesterday I tried my hand at authentic Civil War coffee making. Here's the step-by-step instructions in case you want to try it out! My book, It Took a War mentions coffee quite a few times so I added coffee related snippets to the instructions. 

I was going to try breaking coffee beans with the butt of a rifle, but I had a feeling my dad wouldn't want me doing that with his gun....so we'll skip that step. =)


     Joe took a long sip of the hot liquid and shivered. It was his first time drinking coffee black. He didn't quite care for it but for some reason, he continued to drink it and shiver.