Home » Book Synopsis

Book Synopsis

From 1861 to 1865, Culpeper County, located between Washington , D. C. and Richmond, changed hands numerous times and witnessed more troop movement than any locale in the nation. This is the story of America’s deadliest war as witnessed by Culpeper’s people, who endured four years of bloodshed and inconceivable privatons. The book’s characters, based on real citizens and soldiers, relate an authentic day-to-day feel of war’s harsh privations. Through this unique Southern vantage point, we gain a perspective of the war rarely seen in traditional history books.

At the heart of the story are spirited eighteen-year-old Constance Armstrong and her childhood playmate, Frank Stringfellow. Constance, youngest of two daughters, has been raised by her elderly father as the son he never had. Highly intellectual, she shares her father’s love of politics. At a picnic, she meets West Point graduate Robert Beckam whose quiet maturity attracts her.

Constance and her father become hotly embroiled in the events that lead to secession. Volunteers flood into Culpeper for training, and her childhood friend, Frank Stringfellow, returns determined to join the cavalry. To his chagrin, he is rejected because of his sparse size. He gorges himself to gain weight, captures the pickets of one cavalry group, and finally gets accepted because of his daring. This irrepressible daredevil becomes a scout and spy for Jeb Stuart and undertakes countless hair-raising adventures.

Following First Manassas, Constance serves as a nurse at Camp Henry and becomes enthralled while watching John Pelham train recruits for Jeb Stuart’s Horse Artillery. During a blizzard, Judge Armstrong finds Pelham’s Alabamians without proper shelter and invites them to his house, thus beginning Constance’s fascination with the handsome, soon famous Pelham.

In the spring, the Rebels retreat through Culpeper towards Richmond and the Yankees are not far behind. Three Yankees pilfer the Armstrong farm, killing an elderly free servant in the process. A few days later, a company of Federals led by recent Harvard graduate Aaron Ames approach the farm. Furious, Constance brazenly marches out to confront them and bitterly complains about the pilfering. Her spirit and beauty impress Ames.

Beckam, Pelham, and Ames compete for her affection amidst the swirling chaos of war. We watch this unpredictable heroine nurture, heal, kill, spy, hate bitterly, and ultimately love passionately.

On and off the battlefield, Marching Through Culpeper exposes the human side of such heroes as Jeb Stuart, John Pelham, A. P. Hill, and George Armstrong Custer. Meticulously researched, this epic is sure to please lovers of history, romance, and adventure.