I’m looking forward to my next book signing at Prospero’s Books in Manassas, Va. The signing will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the first large battle of the Civil War: First Manassas or the Battle of Bull Run.

Since I launched my Civil War novel Noble Cause at the 150th anniversary of the start of the war in Charleston, S.C., in April, I think it is only fitting that I should attend the first major battle event as well.

According to news reports, they have about 8,000 re-enactors attending, which is a pretty large event. I have a feeling that it will grow even more to be closer to the 15,000 they were originally expecting.

I ran across this little tidbit from the battle and found it interesting since it highlights the civilian side of the war:

On Sunday, July 21, 1861, Judith Carter Henry, 85, was home with her daughter Ellen. It was a day like any other, except that John, her son, was visiting.

The family heard firing that was threateningly close to their home. By the end of the day, Confederate snipers had occupied Henry’s house and Union forces had shelled it. Ellen Henry lost her hearing from the blasts that day and Judith Henry lost her life. She was the first civilian casualty of the Civil War.

Initially viewed by many as a great adventure, a sobering reality set in that fateful Sunday when the Battle of First Manassas ultimately produced more than 4,500 causalities and ended the innocence of a young nation on Henry’s fallow fields.

If you’re in Manassas for this commemoration event, I hope you stop by and say hello! I will be signing both of my historical fiction novels at Prospero’s, 9129 Center Street, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 22. If you’re in Old Town during the Military Parade, stop by and say hello!

Jessica James


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