Of all the work and research I put into the writing of Honor and Valor, chapters 7 and 8 which deal with the Battles of Freeman’s Farm and Bemis Heights proved the most challenging. Over the last two decades I read many books about these battles. I particularly enjoyed the works of Richard M. Ketchum and Sean Snow, and Don Troiani & Eric Schnitzer.
My goal in reading those and many others was to get my bearings and then shadow the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment and my ancestor, then Captain, Isaac Frye on these battlefields. I cross-referenced the sources from the above-mentioned works and several others to piece together a series of minute-to-minute sequences that plausibly occurred on the afternoons of September 19 and October 7, 1777.
I also spent a day walking the battlefields, doing my best to see the terrain as soldiers saw it in 1777. Many first-hand accounts of the battles included the tremendous sounds of cannon, musketry, and anguished screams of the wounded and dying men. Combine that with all the smoke and smells and I found myself duly impressed with the valor of those who fought.
If you’re like me and have pursued a deeper understanding of these battles, and wondered what it was like to have been there, please invest some time and read Honor and Valor. I learned a great deal writing it, especially when it came to realizing the great fortitude and commitment the men on both sides of these battles brought to bear through the brutality of war and the sufferings produced by 18th Century armies in a months-long campaign.
The best histories are the stories of specific people and why they did what they did. In my writing, I strive to revive the stories of several people that many historians might only include as flavoring in their writings rather than the main course. Names like Isaac Frye, Ezekiel Goodale, William Adrian Hawkins, and Will Burton do not make the indexes in most histories and historians have not written about their families or their everyday concerns for well over a century.
P.S. If you should read or have read Honor and Valor or The War Has Begun, and any of the other books mentioned above, their authors and I would very much appreciate a review on Amazon, as more reviews means Amazon helps promote my books and others on the American Revolution.
I am also happy to include that the e-books editions are now available to borrow from libraries that use the Biblioboard service for loaning e-books to their patrons.