My apologies to those of you who have been waiting for the book to be available on Kindle today. Instead, I'm offering up the first chapter for free, while I'm trying to decide if I want to go the traditional agent publisher route. I'll decide after everyone's back from summer vacations.
This is a novel of historical fiction, that includes fictional characters along with real people. I like to think of it as a less romantic version of the Civil War with flawed human beings. I wanted to write a book about women in the Civil War who were in the camps: officers' wives, cooks, laundresses, nurses and the whores. Joseph Hooker kept coming up in my research. I knew very little about him, but for the fact that he was the head of the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville, and lost to Lee.
Hooker was handsome, vain, arrogant and outspoken. He also was a champion of the common soldier and took great care of his men. Hookers are not named after him, but he helped popularize the term.
Why did Hooker lose at Chancellorsville after telling everyone for two years prior that he would go straight to Richmond once in charge? Hooker was known for drinking, gambling , womanizing and did not get married until he was 50 years old.
He cut back on his drinking and finally quit before Chancellorsville, to aid what many people thought would be his post war political career.
Hooker's commentary of the loss at Chancellorsville, " I lost confidence in Hooker." Did he lose the battle due to a character flaw, not drinking, or perhaps mercury poisoing?
Blue Mass was a popular medicine of the Civil War that contained 9000x what is today considered a safe amount of mercury salts in a single dose. That is not a typo. Blue Mass was used for venereal diseases as treatment, and did not work. Hooker could have been self treating with Blue Mass over the last 30 years of his life.
A popular saying of the day was " A night with Venus and a lifetime with Mercury." This is alluding to medicines like Blue Mass.
The next post will be the first chapter, I hope you enjoy it. It's not for the faint of heart: prostitution, morphine, contraband, and Joe Hooker returning to Washington from the west. Feel free to leave your comments or questions.