This is the story of part of the Civil War as seen through the eyes of a young man who served as a volunteer in the Union army. Leander Cocker may have been any seventeen year old soldier at the outbreak of hostilities, but his head wound at Gettysburg resulted in the loss of his ability to speak coherently. He was a silent witness to many events as several mysteries began to unravel in the oil boom town where he resided.
He saw the return from a faked death of his friend, Wes, a man who had fought for the Confederacy and discovered the wounded Leander at Gettysburg. He wondered about the origin of his black friend, Ab, and the connection Ab may have had to the middle-aged Elsa, but the disabled soldier was able to help his new friends uncover a conspiracy that threatened the welfare of most of them.
...Reluctantly, the girl wiped the tears from her cheeks and joined the man in the doorway.
"You go first," Wes told the soldier, motioning for him to lead the way into the bedroom. "Don't try nothin you'll be sorry for."
The wounded man lay on a pine bed in a sparsely furnished room. Blood seeped from his bandaged forehead, staining the linen counterpane covering the feather matress.
Wes felt the color drain from his face.
The Yank noticed his sudden pallor. "What's the matter, Reb? Ain't you ever seen a wounded man before?"
Wes struggled to compose himself "Seen plenty. Never this close to home. I know that boy. He's from my town. His name's Leander Cocker."
The girl moved to check Leander's bandage. The tension in the room eased. The ambulatory soldier moved across the floor and leaned against the wall. "I know the feeling," he said. "I'm from Maryland. My brother's fighting for the South."
"How bad is he?" Wes asked.
The girl grasped the hem of her petticoat and ripped a piece from it. She dabbed at the oozing bandage. "I'm no nurse."
"It can't be too bad," the Marylander said. "It doesn't look like more than a scratch. A minie ball creased his skull. Not a whole lot of blood, but it must have jumbled his brains. He can walk with help, but he can't talk sensible...
Robert and Mary Lee Scalf's interest in the Civil War and West Virginia's role in that conflict, coupled with their abiding fascination for regional lore, prompted them to collaborate on Leander. Robert is an independent management consultant who has worked with clients in the U.S., Europe, and Africa. He was born in eastern Kentucky. Mary Lee is a free lance writer, correspondent, and former reporter for The Parkersburg News. She was born and grew up in Doddridge County where the couple now reside. The Scalf's have seven children scattered from coast to coast.