Gina Danna: Rags and Hope (plus Giveaway)

A Story of the West during The War of the Rebellion

The West – conjures up pictures of Cowboys and Indians, covered wagons, Wild Bill Hitchcock, saloons, gunslingers and Wyoming or Colorado, etc. But did you know that leading up to and including the Civil War, the ‘west’ was what we call today the Midwest – like Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Ohio. Huh? The original 13 colonies/states (New York to Maine, to Pennsylvania, Carolinas, etc) was considered the civilized society and anything past the Appalachian Mountains is the West.

When the Civil War is discussed even today, it is a story of the North and the South but what about the West? The Midwest was the food-producing states. Both sides counted it as theirs. Missouri, for instance, was the ‘west’, with no status as North or South until “Bloody Kansas” occurred. Newspapers in the North wrote their stories, painting the slave-holding Missouri as Southern. Missouri had a lot of ties to the north from an economic standard, being a bread-winning state and St. Louis was one of the nation’s highest importing towns, that you could by any import there, verses New York or New Orleans or Charleston (the other big ports).

Many businesses in St. Louis were tied to the North but this slanderous news stories propagated at this time during the crisis pushed Missouri in a corner, so to speak, and therefore, they did throw their hat in with the South. Many southerners did settle in the state and it was a slave state but that didn’t make them southerner. Even today, northerners referred to Missouri as southern and vice versa.

 When the war comes, it concentrates on the east and the prime objective by the north was ‘take Richmond!’ – the old concept of take the capital (yet at first, the capital for the Confederacy was in Alabama). The push was take the Army of Northern Virginia, led by the mastermind Robert E. Lee, out, take over Richmond and the North wins! But what of the west? The West does include more than the battles at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Franklin. The west was also the breadbasket of the South (& North) but the key to conquering the rebels was the Mississippi River. Take it and cut the Confederacy in half (plus cutting them from their main food source –Texas).

The western theater also became the dumping ground by both sides for officers that lost favor in the east. General Halleck (US), Rosecrans (US), Braxton Bragg (CS), Joseph E. Johnston (CS) are good examples, like Johnston and President Jefferson Davis didn’t get along, but the South needed men, so Johnston was kept, just reassigned to the west. Sounds pretty awful, right?

My latest release, Rags & Hope, deals with this issue.Here is the blurb:

There was one thing about the War of Rebellion they could both understand: At least on the battlefield, the enemy is clear.

Thanks to his father’s political machinations, grieving widower Colonel Pierce Duval wants nothing more than to leave his family home in New York and return to his Union command in Tennessee. A chance and harrowing encounter with a true-blue Southern belle stirs emotions in him he thought long buried. When her safety is at stake, how can he not help her? 

Cerisa Fontaine ran away from her wealthy Louisiana home, hoping to form a new life where no one would know her family’s awful secret. But her controversial marriage and southern drawl make her a pariah in New York. Her situation becomes downright perilous when her husband is killed in battle and Cerisa is left alone and penniless, forced to seek employment at the only establishment that will accept her: a brothel. When the handsome colonel offers her a way out, she’s compelled to accept despite his Yankee roots.

Each for self-serving reasons of their own, Pierce and Cerisa embark on a journey south to Tennessee, posing as a married couple. But even as their secrets stand between them, their passion wages its own war against their better judgment. All too soon, they must make a life altering choice: remain loyal to their cause, or give in to their heart’s desire.

To Order Click Here 

I’m giving away a digital copy of my book Rags and Hope. For a chance to win, please leave a comment. (Giveaway guidelines apply.)

Guest Blogger
Updated: April 9, 2018 — 4:51 pm

22 Comments

  1. Good morning Gina- I loved your blog, you are so right, the Midwest, often Gets the short end of the deal. Everyone writes about the west and it’s settling, but the Midwest had a huge impact on the development of our nation. You can’t go west until you pass over our Midwest states. Yes they are mentioned in books, but only as a pass through info the Rockies or the Oregon Trial.
    I live in Kansas and I’ve heard so much about the KS/MO conflict from the civil war, but have only read one book on the fighting. Your book sounds wonderful, thank you for remembering us here on the great Plain’s, These “fly over states”, as they are now referred too.
    Have a great April weekend.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I’m from a ‘fly over’ city of St. Louis! St. Louis was the Gateway to the West and the 4th largest city in the US in the 1870s. My how things have changed!! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post! Thanks. I did know most of what you wrote but have not thought about in ages. Glad you brought it back to mind.

  3. Great post, I love books set in this time period so I am sure I would really enjoy reading this one. Thanks for the chance.

    1. Quilt Lady – Thank you and best of luck!!

  4. I never thought about were the food or other supplies had come from thanks for sharing.

    1. Quilt Lady – Thank you and best of luck!!

    2. Kim – yep, the breadbasket was the ‘west’ now ‘midwest’. Thanks for stopping by!!

  5. Hi Gina! Welcome to P&P. We’re thrilled you came to visit. Nothing to me is sadder than the Civil War. It broke families apart and it broke a nation apart. Not a lot was gained from it either. The slaves were free but still made victims in a lot of ways. Just so sad. I have to say that your book cover is so sexy and romantic! Wishing you great success with it.

  6. Linda – thanks for having me 🙂 It’s my favorite period but very tragic. It formed our nation for sure. Though, lately, it appears we learned nothing from it. Sad indeed.

    Thank you about the cover – I love it, too!

  7. So true that many people don’t remember, or it’s not emphasized as much in school, about the western theater of the Civil War.

    1. No, sadly, though the West is now finally getting the research it needed.

  8. Like Linda Broday, nothing is sadder to me than the Civil War. For that, I usually keep my attention focused more on genealogy. My family lived all over the south from North Carolina to Georgia, and from Georgia to Texas, in every southern state except Louisiana, so I doubt many of them missed the devastation. I lost my great-great grandfather Thomas and his eldest son Alfred in that war, but his second eldest son William did make it back; and thank goodness another son, my great-grandfather James was a toddler at that time. One of my several-times-removed, collateral relatives was General Nathan Bedford Forrest. “In the 1990 PBS documentary The Civil War by Ken Burns, historian Shelby Foote states in Episode 7 that the Civil War produced two ‘authentic geniuses’: Abraham Lincoln and Nathan Bedford Forrest.” He also said the war in Virginia may have gone differently had Forrest been there. (Forrest used more modern military techniques than others.)

    1. Forrest is an interesting man. Excellent cavalryman and his raids put fear in the Union for sure. Mosby was also a great cavalry for the South and Marmaduke in Missouri, who was never defeated – all Confederate. Of course, the South had more use of horseback riding, being a country side agricultural society, unlike the industrialized North. Northern cavalry failed miserably against the South in the beginning of the war.

      Ken Burns documentary, one of the best, definitely set off renewed interest in the war. Unfortunately, the 150th anniversary was muted by the nation. So sad….

  9. Thank you for this very informative blog, not only about the Civil War, but also things I didn’t know about Missouri. I’m a Canadian, but I love reading about U.S. history and “how the West was won”.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. Missouri has a very diversified and multi-level history. Originally settled by the French for the fur trade, later taken over by the Spanish, it has a fascinating history.

  10. Excited to hear that the 3rd book in your series is now out Gina! You know this period in history is my favorite too. I find it fascinating, and so often little details emerge that shed light on the trials and tribulations my ancestors faced. I’m always impressed by your research, am intrigued by the blurb and the cover – can’t wait to read this! Would love to win it!!

    1. Oh Thank you Catherine! I so appreciate that! Good luck!!

  11. I have always enjoyed reading about the Civil War but I am so guilty of thinking North & South. I hadn’t thought about the impact on the Midwest and West but I know that my home state of Kentucky was divided in their loyalties. Thanks for a great post.

  12. Great post!

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