An Interview with Private David Summers, protagonist of J.D.R. Hawkins’ The Renegade Series, including A Rebel Among Us. We are travelling back in time to September 1863. The country is in turmoil. Bloody carnage has swept across the nation. Everyone knows someone who has been lost to the terrible war.
David, tell us about yourself.
Well, I’m from Morgan County, Alabama, which ain’t too far from Huntsville. I grew up on my kinfolk’s farm with my ma, pa, and two younger sisters. My pa died at the Battle of Fredericksburg last December. So I decided to jine up last spring with General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry. My best friend, Jake, jined up with me, but he got killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville. My regiment was chosen to come up here to Pennsylvania. We fought at Gettysburg, and I lost a few friends. Reckon I’m mighty tired of war now, but I still want to see the South win so’s I can go back home.
How old are you?
What happened after the Battle of Gettysburg?
Somethin’ right strange. I was on picket duty when I came across a Yankee sentry. We shot at each other. I won. But he got a bead on me. My horse, Renegade, bolted and ran for miles. I couldn’t hold him because a rein was severed and I’d lost my footing out of the stirrup. He finally came across a farm and went inside the barn. By then, I was gettin’ dizzy and I fell out of the saddle. It wasn’t long before I heard voices comin’ from the farmhouse.
Then what happened?
I recall some girls comin’ to my aid. They carried me into the house. I’d been shot in the shoulder and stabbed in the leg, so they stitched me up. Before I blacked out, I heard them talkin’ ‘bout whether or not they should turn me in or let me die and feed me to the hogs.
How terrible! I’m glad to see that didn’t happen!
So, now you’ve been here for a couple of months. How is it working out?
Not so well. There’s a neighbor who’s a Yankee officer, and even though I ain’t met him yet, I ‘spect I will sooner or later. And then there are the sisters.
The three sisters who saved my life. The oldest one, Anna, well, she’s mighty sweet and purty, but her sister, Maggie, don’t take a cotton to me at all. And then there’s Abigail, the youngest. She and I git along like two peas in a pod.
But you are still a soldier. Do you plan to rejoin the Confederate cavalry?
I dunno. I mean, I have to wait and see. If the Southern army comes back up here, I might be inclined, but as it is now, I can’t travel south without riskin’ my capture. Besides that, Renegade was injured, too, so I’m waitin’ for him to heal.
And then there’s Anna.
It sounds like you’ve taken a liking to her. Do you want to stay on her account?
I wouldn’t mind it if Miss Anna took a likin’ to me. But I know her aunt and sisters won’t approve, and we keep debatin’ on who’s right and who’s wrong: the north or the south. Way I see it, the first chance I git, I’m fixin’ to head south.
It sounds like you’re facing quite a conflict. Anna and her family are committing treason by harboring you. At any moment, you could be captured, and you still have a desire to fight for the Southern cause, if I’m not mistaken. It seems you’ve gotten yourself into quite a dilemma.
Yeah. Reckon I have.
David Summers never expected any of this… not in a million years. He thought for sure he was a goner.
After leaving Alabama and enlisting with the cavalry, his delusion of chivalry was suddenly quashed when he saw for himself the horrors of battle. Now, after being shot and ending up at a strange farmhouse, he’s found himself being nursed back to health by four beautiful girls, and has learned that his Confederate brethren have deserted him in Pennsylvania after fighting at Gettysburg. It’s more than he can fathom. On top of that, he’s been presented with an even bigger dilemma. He knows he’s falling in love with the older sister, Anna, and she has enticed him with an interesting proposition. However, her scheme goes against his principles, and the reasons why he enlisted in the first place – to avenge his father’s death and defend his sacred homeland.
To David’s dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, deceiving everyone around him by pretending to be a Yankee? If discovered, he would be considered a traitor to the cause, and she could be in jeopardy of treason. Or should he leave the farm, say goodbye to her, and risk certain capture? Either way, his perilous situation doesn’t seem to offer an encouraging outcome. If that isn’t bad enough, Anna’s neighbor, a Union officer, is in love with her, too, and he would stop at nothing to have David arrested … or worse.
J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective.
Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, and A Rebel Among Us. All three novels are award winners, and tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel to her series.