In addition to fleshing out familiar heroes, such as Generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. J.E.B. Stuart, and President Jefferson Davis, this collection of biographical sketches includes less familiar figures such as:
- Balloon Bryan, the man who rigged up a crude aircraft carrier by fastening a balloon to a gunboat to scout Union positions near Richmond.
- Ten year-old “Dixie,” who tended and protected wounded soldiers after the battle of Antietam.
- Admiral Raphael Semmes, who fought thrilling and decisive battles off the coast of France.
- Boyish John Pelham, the artillery officer with one Blakely cannon held up the advance of three enemy divisions (about 16,000 soldiers) for half an hour at Fredericksburg.
- 19 year-old Sergeant Dick Kirkland who risked his life to carry water to wounded and dying Union soldiers on the battlefield.
- Teenager Jim Hanger who lost a leg and later carved a wooden replacement which was used as a model for other amputees.
"On Sunday, April 9, 1865, almost exactly four years after the Civil War began in Charleston Harbor, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the tiny village of Appomattox, Virginia. About 8,000 ragged half-starved rebels were all that remained of the once powerful Army of Northern Virginia.
In his farewell message to the soldiers, General Lee thanked them for their faithful service. He told them that he was surrendering only because he didn't want to sacrifice any more lives just to keep fighting without a chance of winning. Then after the surrender he urged his fellow Southerners to put aside their angry feelings and work to heal the bitterness between North and South.
For after four years of bloody war the nation badly needed to rebuild a united nation. Over half a million men and boys in blue and gray had been killed - more than in any war in the country's history. The war had cost over one-hundred billion dollars in today's money. And much of the South was ruined from the heavy fighting that took place on her soil.
Slowly the country grew together again. This was possible because there actually were no "goodies" or "bathes" in the war. The North had fought to keep the country united, while the South fought for the right of each state to go its own way. Each side believed in the rightness of its cause and fought valiantly for it.
But after the war, many leading Confederates such as General E. Porter Alexander, one of General Lee's best artillerists, came to realize that it was better for the country that the North won the war. He pointed out that as a united country the United States of America became much stronger than two separate countries would have been. Today as one powerful nation we can exert a strong influence for freedom and peace throughout the world."
Confederate Heroes and Heroines is a wonderful series of sketches of dedicated men and women who can serve as worthy role models for today's youth. Designed primarily for young readers, this book will surely add to their knowledge of the War, especially in the Eastern theater. Dr. Hassler, with beautiful simplicity, tells us of the lives and valiant deeds of these good and brave persons, and readers young and old will draw special inspiration from their accounts.
President, Civil War Education Association
The Late Dr. William Woods Hassler received his undergraduate education at Juniata College and his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career was spent in higher education at Penn, Drexel, Beaver, Eastern, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
His interest in the Civil War was sparked by youthful trips with his father to the battlefields in the Eastern theater, which subsequently led to the writing of books and articles.
Dr. Hassler's contributions have been recognized nationally by an award from the Philadelphia Civil War Society and in 1994 by the establishment of the William Woods Hassler American Blue and Gray Association Award for scholarship and research in the field of Civil War history. He and his wife reside in Winchester, Virginia.