Life in the Past Lane

Official blog of award-winning romantic historical and military fiction author Jessica James

Civil War love letters

I stumbled across a great site for Civil War love letters today and had to share this one that I remember reading years ago when I was doing research for my Civil War novel Shades of Gray.It is from Harvey Black in Brandy Station, Virginia, who served as a surgeon to...

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“Damn the Yankees’ – not the right ‘oath’

I am always interested in reading first-person accounts of the Civil War, and so was pleased to find an article in my inbox this morning concerning the unpleasant task imposed upon Southerners of taking the oath of allegiance.After the War Between the States, loyal...

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Civil War warriors had soft hearts

In the midst of the chaos of today's society, it is sometimes hard to imagine the type of devotion that plays out in my Civil War novel Shades of Gray. One would not expect, after all, to hear sweet murmurings of love from those great soldiers we have come to know as...

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The softer side of Lincoln

I came across an anecdote about Lincoln meeting General George Pickett's wife and baby, and thought I would share it. It was found in the book "The Heart of a Soldier: The Intimate Letters from General George E. Pickett to his Wife," and is told by "Sally," his wife....

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Presidential Poll results

“I think this poll shows that, above all, Americans are looking for someone with strong moral values.” - Jessica James, authorThe votes are in on the Presidential Poll I conducted, and I think the results are very revealing about the upcoming presidential election.For...

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Love and duty during the Civil War

Since I'm pressed for time this week, I thought I'd pull up some old posts that readers might find interesting. This one is about General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson - a man most people would not think of as being a "softie." But letters to his wife reveal a romantic...

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Civil War heroes & revisionist history

I was surprised, and a little dismayed, to talk to a reader in Virginia a few weeks ago, who thought that Colonel John Mosby (the Confederate officer that Colonel Alexander Hunter, the main character in Shades of Gray, is based upon) was a murderer and a thief. For...

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Historic homes: If only the walls could talk

On a recent trip to Virginia for a Shades of Gray book signing event, I passed the home called Eastview, which is located off Rt. 29 in Fauquier County. The house stands on a hillside and is easily seen from the road, but unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a...

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A page from Civil War history

Just for fun, I thought I'd share some information from James J. Williamson's book Mosby's Rangers on what it was like in October, 1864, for Mosby's men. For those of you who are new to my blog, Colonel John S. Mosby is the real-life Confederate cavalry officer whom...

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Take me home country roads

I am really off-topic this week, but I can't help but write about the vanishing countryside around my small town of Gettysburg as the city folk and progress move in.I was completely stunned when I drove down my dirt driveway earlier this week to find that a yellow...

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