Brief Description: 12 yo orphan boy from Maine journeys to Gettysburg to rescue his brother who was sold to Union army for Civil War effort
Historical Era: 19th Century
Date Range: 1863-1865?
Keywords: Abraham Lincoln, African American Slavery, American Civil War, Battle of Gettysburg, Emancipation Proclamation, Enrollment Act of 1863, Frederick Douglass, Little Round Top, Medicine Show, Quaker Abolitionists, Underground Railroad
Original Publication: 2009
Suitable for Grades: 4-7th
Target Audience: Middle Grade
This mostly humorous adventure story, set during the American Civil War, features twelve-year-old Homer Figg, an orphan who lives with his older brother and a mean, abusive uncle. The uncle’s illegal sale of seventeen-year-old Harold into conscription for the Union Army sets into motion Homer’s journey to the battlefield of Gettysburg to find him. Along the way, Homer encounters an abolitionist, a pair of cons, the cast of a traveling medicine show, and many other colorful characters. He sees the world outside of fictional Pine Swamp, Maine for the first time and uses his wit and quick thinking to get out of multiple scrapes.
The fast pace of the adventures and outsized personalities of those Homer meets along the way make the scenario in this novel unrealistic. All of the secondary characters are fictional. Homer is depicted as a fibber who nevertheless tries to do the right thing, while his brother is wholesomely angelic. The battle scenes at Gettysburg are exciting and terrifying, as Homer defies injury largely by luck. Back matter is limited to a glossary of “Some Additional Civil War Facts, Opinions, Slang & Definitions, to be Argued, Debated & Cogitated Upon.”