I made a big historical mistake in chapter 19 and it is embarrassing. Having studied and taught the Civil War, I cannot believe I completely forgot Brandy Station. I had Brit state that the cavalry battle at Gettysburg on the third day of the battle was the biggest of the war. That is not correct.

On June 9, 1863, General Pleasanton sent 12,000 horsemen to attack General Stuart’s 9,500 men in and around Brandy Station, Virginia. The battle was the first time the Union put together all their scattered cavalry units, and they were able to stand toe-to-toe with the celebrated JEB Stuart. It was a draw, but it had a powerful impact on the Battle of Gettysburg three weeks later.

Stuart’s men spent much of the time in between fighting delaying battles so that his men and horses were nearly worn out on July 3 when they were most needed. Stuart has often been criticized for wandering all over Pennsylvania instead of sending reports to Lee regarding the Union positions. In fact, Stuart followed Lee’s orders. As to sending reports, the unexpected movements of the Union army cut Stuart off from reaching Lee. He searched for a way around them and missed the first two days of the decisive battle.

As to the Mine Creek, Kansas, battle being the second biggest, General Pleasanton only had 2,500 horsemen, but General Price had 7,000, for a total of 9,500. As stated by Brit in chapter 19, the Union troops had repeating rifles by 1864, which made the main difference.

At Gettysburg, Stuart had only 3,500 men left and Pleasanton had just 3,300. That makes it the third largest in total numbers, but arguably the most important for its impact on the war. Yet, a strong case can be made for Brandy Station as the most important because of the moral boost it gave the Union and because of the losses they inflicted on Stuart’s troopers, loses they were hard pressed to replace.

January 6, 1886

Dark Snow 15 Dec 2015 KINDLE

Dark Snow may be purchased from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The story of this, my first book, begins on the birthday of our hero, Remiel-Remmy-Bevens as he makes his way home after a day of cutting firewood.

Here are some historical photos related to the story.

Blizzard Jan 1888 6

A photo of the 1886 blizzard taken in central Kansas.


bow saw

Typical bow saw of the period.


Erie court house

The old county courthouse in Erie, KS.


Cook Stove A typical home cook stove, this one probably in the south. The stoves in an eating house of the day would have been much larger. They were normally fired with wood.



courtesy of the Library of Congress
courtesy of the Library of Congress

Martha Washington One Dollar Bill s

The very first silver certificate for $1 was issued in 1886. All certificates were replaced in 1957 with Federal Reserve Notes. The difference was that a certificate could be traded at any bank for $1 in silver coin. Today’s Federal note can be redeemed for non-silver coins. While silver coins are still minted and can be used as currency, they are really intended for collectors, because the value of the silver greatly exceeds the minted face value. You might now pay $25 for a silver dollar, but you could only spend it as one dollar.

Osage Mission Catholic Church

This is the Osage Mission Catholic Church in Neosho County, KS.

The Church built a school next door which is today the oldest continuing school in Kansas, though it is now public. There was a virtual war between Osage Mission and the town of Erie for possession of the county seat. Today, Mission is called St. Paul and the church is St. Francis.


Sell family merder book

The cover of a book about the real murders of the Sell family in Neosho County, Kansas, in 1886. Sixteen year old Willie survived and was accused of and convicted for the murders of his family, and spent 21 years in prison before he was finally given a full pardon based on the evidence. While that evidence points strongly to two unnamed killers, they were never caught.

This real murder was the starting point for my story, Dark Snow.