Author Lisa Saunders of Mystic presents the Civil War love letters featured in Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, published by Heritage Books. Photo by Collette Fournier.
The Civil War love letters of Private Charles McDowell and his wife Nancy featured in Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, published by Heritage Books. Photo by Larry Chester.
A fifteen minute sample of my script based on EVER TRUE:
The play EVER TRUE debuted on October 16th of 2004 in Nelson Page?s elegantly restored Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY, starring Dick Avazian, Ken Columba, Meg LaDuca, Bob Henebry and Julie Thiry. Musical accompaniment by members of Heavy Traffic.
Private Charles McDowell: Born in Ontario, Canada in 1837. Came to upstate New York around 1858. Married Nancy Wager when she was just 15 on Christmas Eve of 1860. Charles was 25 when he enlisted in the Union Army in 1862.
Mrs. Nancy Wager McDowell: She was 17 when Charles enlisted in the Union Army.
She returned to the home of her parents in upstate New York to wait out the war. She lived with Charles in Washington for nearly a year while he was stationed there.
Narrator: Provides background information throughout the letter readings.
Author's directions: No memorization is required. The letters are to be read by the character who wrote them. They are to be read aloud while the character pretends to write the letter or as if they had just written it. The recipient of the letter should listen actively, possibly while appearing to read the letter, or as if they are hearing it from a far and unreachable place. This play takes an hour to perform. You are welcome to shorten it to fit your circumstances (you may want to take out the objectionable material for younger audiences). If you have more actors than parts, the role of the narrator can be divided. The setting, props, and all stage directions are optional. The letters can simply be read back and forth in the simplest of settings, or you may want to try some of the following suggestions:
Nancy sits at a table cloth covered desk with a battery operated candle, era pen, ink well, and photo in stand. Charles sits on stool or log with a pen in his hand and an ink well nearby. Their backs are towards each other except for the time Nancy lives in Washington. Charles takes occasional sips from a tin cup while Nancy may pour herself cups of tea. (You will find battery operated candles, period pens, and bottles looking like inkwells in craft stores or in history museum gift shops). Soft Civil War era music creates a mood in the background while the letters are being read. Note: Audiences over fifty five have difficulty hearing the words read over the music. If the audience is very hard of hearing, I recommend only playing the music before and after the show.
Narrator: It is 1862 and war fervor is high. President Lincoln asks for an additional 300,000 men to serve in the Union Army for three years. The call to arms is sounded.
Recently emigrated from Ontario, Canada to upstate New York, Charles McDowell reads in his newspapers:
?To Our Patriotic and Loyal Citizens:
The country now calls upon you to rally to the support of its flag. Are you willing to let Jeff Davis, and his horde of rebels push upon your homes, pillage your houses and devastate your lands? Are you willing to be called traitors, poltroons, and cowards by the whole civilized world? Are you willing to see this great and glorious Constitution, which was won by the blood of your fore-fathers, trampled in the dust by a rebel foe? Are you willing to suffer the disgrace of being drafted when the foe is at your door? The Government believes not..."*
When the son of Secretary of State Seward, of ?Seward?s Alaskan Folly,? organizes the New York 9th Heavy Artillery in the summer of 1862, Charles enlists?despite his father?s frantic pleas to stay out of the war. After learning the basics of a soldier?s life in Auburn, NY, he is roused at on September 12th, 1862. Leaving his seventeen-year-old wife Nancy with her parents, Charles McDowell begins the greatest adventure of his life as a Private in the Union Army.
September the 13th, 1862
We started from Auburn Friday morning at eight o' clock and we was in New York Saturday morning at 6 o clock. We was met with great cheers all the way along. We are stationed right near Broadway and it?s the liveliest place I ever see. They have the most ways for making money you ever see. They drawed us through the City with horses. Four horses to two cars and we had twenty-two passengers besides some freight cars.
This is a beautiful place. We had two girls come and dance for us today. They both danced and played on accordion all at once. The nicest I ever saw.
I want you to write and let me know when you started for home. I looked for you all the next day. I didn?t know whether you had gone or not, but it was the lonesomest day I ever saw. I hope I will never feel so again.
Our guns has just come and I think we will start right off.
Your ever true and affectionate husband, Charles McDowell
Narrator: The excitement of sightseeing in Washington and watching the construction on the Capitol building dims for Charles, when day after day, he receives no letter from Nancy.
Charles: (Holds up pen then pretends to write)
October the 10th, 1862
I have just found a pen. Sometimes we have a dozen pens and sometimes we ain?t one. But something seems curious that I don?t get a letter from you. I begin to think that you have forgotten me already. You know what you said before we parted and I know your word to be good. Most all the boys has got a good many letters and they say you have forgotten me. But you know I don?t believe that.
October the 14th, 1862
I went clear to Alton last night to get a letter from you, but I didn?t get one. If I don?t get one tomorrow night, I don?t know what I shall do. The other boys writes home that they don?t have enough to eat and that they sleeps cold.
October the 15th
Your letter has come at last. You said that you thought I had forgot you, but I never will forget you, the longest that I live. I have written a great many times, and I am not to blame if you do not get them.
Old Courtright done well when he got married. His wife come to him the other day, and she was so drunk that she fell down behind the stove. She laid there a long time.
They have got the story around that Hank Converse?s wife slept with Burt a week or two at Auburn.
Oct the 17th, 1862
I now take another opportunity to write a few more lines. But if it don?t do any more good then the rest that I wrote, then it won?t do much now.
If I thought that you had got my letters and had not written to me, I wouldn?t never put my hand to a pen to write to you again.
Well I don?t know that there is any use of writing any more.
Narrator: Charles finally receives Nancy?s letters. He responds to her with tales of fort life, and hints at the scandalous behavior of his comrades. During this time, the New York Ninth builds forts and roads, and marches in dress parades for President Lincoln, Lieutenant Colonel Seward?s father, the Secretary of State, and other important spectators.
Despite their grand life, the men feel cheated they are missing out on the glory of battle. The folks in upstate New York complain that the Ninth isn?t doing anything?they are mocked as the ?white-gloved? regiment.
But sanitary conditions are extremely poor. Charles contracts the deadly typhoid fever. Nancy sends him several home remedies, such as peppermint oil, but warns that taking too much of it will give him the piles, that is: hemorrhoids.
Nov the 19th, 1862
I am gaining pretty fast. I think I shall soon be able to do duty.
We have Seward down here about every other day, and sometimes he fetches Old Abe with him. He looks about like any old farmer.
Goodbye Nancy. I often think of you.
I remain your ever true and affectionate husband.
November the 20th, 1862
The regiment left Auburn last night. There was about twelve of the men refused to go. But after a while, they all consented to go, but two of them. They swore that they would not go, and they took their knives out and was a-going to kill their Captain and he shot them dead on the spot.
I am very lonesome here today. If you was here, I wouldn?t be so lonesome. I don?t like sleeping alone--I kick around like everything. I wished you was here to help fill up the bed.
From your true and affectionate wife
Nov the 28th, 1862
Nat I thought I would write a few more lines before I went to bed.
They say that Burnside sent a dispatch this afternoon to Lincoln, and wanted to know if he should burn Richmond. I think he is a-going to do something.
There is a considerable many of the boys sick, but I never felt better than I do tonight. But I ain?t very strong. These doctors don?t know nothing. One of them is under arrest. If I had took all the medicine that they gave me, I think I would have been dead now. I had a double handful of quinine powders, but all I took was three or four. I got boneset tea and one thing or other. I tell you I believe in doctoring myself.
I could write you a good deal about some of the boys, but then it?s against our rules. Well not my rules, but theirs, because I ain?t a-going to do anything that I am ashamed to have them write about. I will tell you when I come home.
Goodbye Nat. How I would like to see you, but keep good courage.
November the 30th, 1862
They are having a terrible time about Burt and Old Miss Converse. They say that Burt told his wife about it. They say that when Miss Converse was to Auburn, she went and called for a room, and then sent for Burt. Burt's wife says that she wished she knew what Burt had done before she went to see him. She would not have gone a-near him. But I don't think that Burt was so much to blame as his wife. She is getting to be awful mean. Hardly any body will speak to her any more.
We have killed the fat cow and hung it up. I wished you was here to help eat it.
From your ever true and affectionate wife.
Dec the 14th, 1862
I should like to get a hold of a piece of that beef you killed. I would hang on and growl, but then what is the use of talking beef.
Old Abe and Seward was here tonight and said that there was five thousand of our men killed and wounded yesterday, just the other side of Fredericksburg. He says they are fighting today awful. They was carrying off the dead and wounded all last night.
I should like to be there with you to spend Christmas and New Years, but I am afraid I shant. Little did I think last Christmas that I would be a way off here, venturing my life for the country.
I must go to roll call now.
January, Sunday the 25th, 1863
I am here alone? all but the cats. All the folks has gone to meeting, and I don?t like to go, so I have to stay home alone.
I wish that I could come out there and stay as long as you have to stay. That would be just what I should like, to be with you, for I don?t take any comfort in the way that we live now.
(Nancy and Charles turn in their chairs towards each other.)
The regiment is allowed a certain number of wives to move in with their husbands while stationed in Washington. Charles begs Nancy to come. She does come, and writes to her mother:
March the 8th, 1863
We had got fixed up quite well. We live in a cloth tent not quite as large as your kitchen. We have got a bed, a stove, and a cupboard made out of a box. We have got a big stool that two can sit up to the table with. I have got a wash dish and kettle, and a water pail, and we have got four tin cups, two knives and forks. We have got two tin plates, two iron spoons and a candlestick. We have got a bottle of pepper sauce. I have got Billy Wager?s teapot. It is the funniest little thing. It has got the spout on the side.
Charly can draw rations for me so it won?t cost anything for me to stay down here.
From Nancy McDowell
Narrator: Charles?s regiment is ordered south of Washington to build the largest of Lincoln?s forts on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. FortFoote will be mounted with heavy sea guns to guard the water?s approach to the Capitol. Nancy determines to make some money.
November the 6th, 1863
I have neglected writing for some time, but to tell you the truth, I haven?t got much time. I am detailed to work on the barracks. And nights, I heft to help Nancy peel apples. Nancy is in the pie business pretty strong. She has a woman to help her a good deal of the time. She pays her three shillings a day. We sell about seventy pies a day and after payday, we could sell three times that many, if we had them.
There was part of a Russian fleet went past here the other day. There was a monitor went down the river day before yesterday
I have traded my old watch off for a revolver and Nancy is practicing on it. She is getting to be quite a marksman.
Narrator: President Lincoln visits FortFoote to watch a firing demonstration from the large cannons overlooking the Potomac. Charles?s regiment entertains him with champagne and oysters. As impressive as FortFoote is, however, it is in an area so unhealthy it becomes known as the ?Graveyard of the Potomac.? At any one time, half of the regiment is sick with malaria or typhoid fever. Nancy?s mother reminds Charles and Nancy that they are closer to danger there than in New York, and urges them to get some religion. Nancy does indeed face death when she contracts the dreaded typhoid fever. She is rushed home to the care of her mother.
I stay in the house nights but I don?t bake anymore pies. It?s too lonesome for me. You say you are lonesome. If you feel any lonesomer than I do, you must feel pretty lonesome.
You can?t begin to think what the folks told about me when I come home. They say that I got rid of a young one, and they said that I had the small pox, and they said that I had the bad disorder. I think it is ridiculous to be talked about in that way, but I will have to stand it. But if all of them behaves themselves as well as I did, I think they will do well enough.
March the 20th, 1864
The other day there was a dead man floated up ashore. He had been in a little skiff and had undertaken to run by the patrol boat. They hollowed to him to stop and they shot at the bow of the boat. They thought that would scare him so that he would stop. But he did not stop, so they took one of their mini rifles and shot him right through the head. He tumbled out of the boat and the tide washed him up a shore.
I have got me a nice little silver. I don?t know whether to send my big revolver home or not. I also bought me a nice accordion.
Write soon because I always feel anxious to hear from you. Goodbye my dearest Nancy.
April the 22nd, 1864
That was purty mean for that man to get shot. The poor man wanted to go home. I suppose that he was a soldier.
You said that you had you a nice little silver and was a notion to send it to me, but you didn?t tell what it was. Ma reckoned it must be a little woman or else you would told what.
Narrator: Nancy will never return to Washington. In the spring of 1864, The Ninth leaves the relative comfort of the Washington forts to join the Army of the Potomac as a member of General Grant?s Sixth Corps. Grant?s goal is to capture Richmond.
May the 19th, 1864
We are at Bell Plane Landing, ten miles from Fredericksburg. There is 10,000 Rebel prisoners here and there is more coming all the time, but if you would see the wounded come in here, you would think our army would be used up in a short time. But there is a regiment after regiment coming in here going to Grant.
There is a hill where we have pitched our tents. You can sit here and see nothing but wagon trains and soldiers for miles around. We expect to start tonight or in the morning. We are waiting for the trains to be loaded.
These rebel prisoners are tough looking fellows and they look healthy. They ain?t dressed as well as our soldiers but they are as hearty and well as any of us. I have talked with some of them. They think it will take some time to whip them yet, and I think so too. Did that accordion come through all right? Do you like it?
We have just got orders to strike our tents and leave. We are going to chase Old Lee.
May the 25th, 1864
I now sit down to answer your letter that I received tonight. I was very glad to hear from you but was very sorry to hear that you was going into battle. I live in hopes that you will come off unharmed. But the Lord only knows.
I hope that there hasn?t been any ball made to kill you yet.
Narrator:The Army of the Potomac marches to a cross roads known as Old Cold Harbor. Charles?s regiment will finally have their chance at glory.
The next year for Nancy is fraught with relentless worry over the danger Charles is in. He writes home about the battles of Cold Harbor, Jerusalem Plank Road, Monocacy, Winchester, Cedar Creek, the Siege of Petersburg, an attack by Mosby's Men, and the Shenandoah Valley and Appomatox Campaigns. In other letters, Nancy reads of desertions, hangings, amputations, and even theft and murder among Union troops.
Nancy worries Charles will get too close to the Southern women while he occupies their homes. She longs for him to return to her--even if it is just for a short furlough. She writes that she would rather be dead than continue to live the way they are. The final years of Nancy?s life are spent rocking in her chair looking out the window. Perhaps she was awaiting her death, so Charles could come for her once more?
(Narrator/Host of Event may want to continue):
To learn more about Nancy and Charles and their journey through the Civil War, their great great granddaughter has compiled their collection of 150 letters into her book: EVER TRUE: A Union Private and His Wife. EVER TRUE also includes background information, vintage photos, and era recipes. Contact the publisher Heritage Books for information at 1-800-876-6103 or the author through www.authorlisasaunders.com. You have just heard a small portion of the play based on EVER TRUE. If you would like to perform the entire ?Reader?s Theater? for your school, local theater or historical society, contact the publisher, Heritage Books.
* (The Clyde Times, Volume XII, Number 19, Wednesday, September 18th, 1861 Clyde, New York)
**Author?s Note: The July the 18th, 1864 letter of Charles is actually a combination of letters dated July the 18th, August the 10th and September the 12th of 1864. Similar combinations are done in other letters.
*** (Roe, Alfred Seelye, The Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Worcester, MA, 1899, p. 136)
If a reception is to follow the performance, apple pie and/or donuts and fresh lemonade would be in keeping with the story. You may wish to try some of the recipes from Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife. An idea for a fundraiser would be to sell copies of Ever True signed by the actors.
THE NEW YORK NINTH HEAVY ARTILLERY TIMELINE
Also knows as "Seward's Pets"
Member of the 3rd Division 2nd Brigade of the 6th Corps
Sept 1862-Aug 1863 Stationed near Washington DC Aug 1863-May 1864 Built Fort Foote (located south of DC along the Potomac River) May 18, 1864 Joined the Army of the Potomac May through June Rapidan Campaign (Virginia) May 26 North Anna River May 26-28 On line of the Pamunky River May 28-31 Totopotomoy Creek June 1-12 Cold Harbor June 18-19 Before Petersburg June 18-July 6 Siege of Petersburg June 22-23 Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad July 6-8 Move to Baltimore July 9 Battle of Monocacy (Maryland) August 7 - November 28 Shenandoah Valley Campaign August 21-22 Near Charlestown [Charles was in DC] August 29 Charlestown [Charles was in DC] September 19 Battle of Winchester September 22 Fisher's Hill October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek Through December, duty at Kernstown December 3 Moved to Washington, DC, then to Petersburg Dec 1864-April 1865 Siege of Petersburg March 25, 1865 Fort Fisher March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign April 2 Assault and fall of Petersburg April 5 Amelia Springs April 6 Sailor's Creek April 9 Appomattox Court House, Surrender of Lee and his Army April 17-27 Expedition to Danville Until June, duty at Danville and Richmond June 8 Corps Review
10 Officers and 204 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded 247 Enlisted men died by disease. 461 Total
The audience was greatly moved... The letters of the play's characters, Charles and Nancy McDowell, bring to vivid life our ancestors' world. We travel with Charles and Nancy through the trials of camp life, the devastation of battle, and the challenges of day-to-day life on the home front. Nancy's gossip is a wonderful release when we are swept up in one of the most turbulent times in American history. At the play's end, feeling an overwhelming sense of our nation's history, we responded with raised voices to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," our tribute to the sacrifices of all the veterans and citizens who have preserved our freedoms and way of life.
Dear Lisa: I wanted to thank you for making "Ever True" possible. The Museum of Wayne County History recently performed the play under a tent on our lawn. The atmosphere--complete with crickets, church bells, and train whistles in the distance--evoked what Charles and Nancy could have heard. Everyone in the audience LOVED the performance. One man told me he was "hanging on every word." People laughed at Nancy's gossipy chatter and fell silent when Charles spoke of men who had been killed. The entire experience was very moving. Thank you again, Lisa. This production of "Ever True" was one of our most memorable events of the summer. Sincerely, Joe O'Toole Executive Director Museum of Wayne County History
*********************************** Joseph O'Toole Executive Director Museum of Wayne County History 21 Butternut Street Lyons, New York 14489
If you are performing this for schools, students should be able to answer the following questions after the performance:
What was Charles?s impression of Lincoln?
What disease did both Charles and Nancy contract? Why?
What was the name of the river Charles was guarding when he was stationed in
What was Charles?s impression of the Confederate soldiers?
When the Northern soldiers were marching through Southern territory, what did they do
to the farmlands? Why?
Why did Charles despise Union deserters?
What might happen to the wounded after a battle?
Near the end of the war, why did Charles think Confederate soldiers were deserting?
Topics for discussion:
Why were the Northern States fighting the Southern States?
During truces, the North would trade coffee for the South?s tobacco. Why?
Why did the North win the war?
Which side suffered the most as a result of the war?
How many men were killed in battle, died from disease, or were left disabled?
Heritage Books is now making the scripts available. Since it is a new product, Leslie from Heritage Books asked that you initially deal with her until they have the scripts listed on their website and with their bookstore.
Ever True Script Details:Code # S3486$12.50/Script X 4 scripts (required to buy one script per part--there are four parts) plus:$ 50.00 royalty fee (can show the play for up to 5 times, then must renew after 5 showings)Total cost: $100.00 for first purchase of scripts and performing rights.If you plan to break up the part of the narrator, you may want to order additional scripts for $12.50/script. Send check to:Heritage BooksAttention: Leslie65 E. Main StreetWestminster, MD 21157Make check for $100.00 payble to Heritage Books. If you have any questions, call Leslie at Heritage at 1-866-282-2689. Heritage Books will not cash your check until they send out the hard copies of the play.
Catton, Bruce, The Civil War, New York: American Heritage Press, 1960
Clark, Lewis H., The County in the Civil War, New York: Clark, Hulett, Gaylord 1883
Cooling and Owen, Mr. Lincoln?s Forts, Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Press, 1988
Roe, Alfred Seelye, The Ninth New York Heavy Artillery, Worcester, MA, 1899
Saunders, Lisa. Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife, Bowie, MD, Heritage Books, 2004
Ward, Geoffrey, Burns, Ric, Burns, Ken. The Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1990
(The Clyde Times, Volume XII, Number 19, Wednesday, September 18th, 1861 Clyde, New York)
Information for schools considering purchasing EVER TRUE:
I am writing to inform you of the recent release of my script Ever True: One Couple's Journey through the Civil War. This one-act play, or rather "Reader's Theater," is based on my book Ever True: A Union Private and His Wife. Please see the attached brochure in regards to the script. The publisher, Heritage Books, wrote the following about my book on which the script is based:
The transcribed letters of Charles McDowell and his wife, Nancy, display remarkable devotion, and offer readers a unique perspective of the Civil War. Read little known details about: hangings; prostitution; amputations; desertions; theft and murder among Union troops; personal contacts with Lincoln and Seward (of "Seward's Alaskan Folly"); battles of Cold Harbor, Jerusalem Plank Road, Monocacy, Opequon, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, the Siege of Petersburg, Mosby's Men, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. The 9th Heavy Artillery was a member of the 6th Corps. This story is cohesive and informative yet charming and romantic in a very personal way. Vintage photographs enhance the text. 2004, 5?x8?, paper, 202 pp. $19.50 ISBN: 0-7884-2526-9
EVER TRUE: A Civil War Love Story
A moving presentation of one couple's devotion to their country and each other despite war's infidelities, scandals, and ever-present threat of death
A "Reader's Theater" using the Civil War letters of Soldier Charles McDowell and his wife Nancy.
First-hand accounts of: " Longing " Suspicion " Danger " Visits from Lincoln " Washington Fort Life " Disease " Exhausting Marches " Grant's Army in Battle " Amputations " Desertions and Hangings " Destruction of Confederate Property " Events leading up to Lee's Surrender
Heritage Books has just released EVER TRUE: One Couple's Journey through the Civil War, which is based on the book EVER TRUE. This one-act play is more like a "Reader's Theater" because it is simply the reading of actual Civil War letters between a husband and wife. There is also a part for a narrator (which can be shared if there are more readers than parts) and a part for Janet Seward (the daughter-in-law of Secretary of State Seward). EVER TRUE is an entertaining and memorable way to see life during the Civil War through the eyes of one New York couple. It has been performed for several historical societies, including the West Point Museum. The show is a full hour production, but can easily be shortened to 45 minutes. Setting
Nancy sits at a desk with a feather pen and ink well. Charles sits on a stool or log with a feather pen in hand and an ink well nearby. Civil War era music plays softly in the background.
The play begins as follows:
Narrator: It is 1862 and war fervor is high. It has been over a year since the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter and the North has learned from Battles such as Bull Run that the South will be tough to beat. President Lincoln asks for an additional 300,000 men to serve for three years. The call to arms is sounded. When the son of Secretary of State Seward, of "Seward's Alaskan Folly," organizes the New York 9th Heavy Artillery in the summer of 1862, Charles McDowell enlists-despite his Canadian father's frantic pleas to stay out of the war. After learning the basics of a soldier's life in Auburn, NY, he is roused at 4:00 a.m. on September 12th, 1862. Leaving his seventeen-year-old wife Nancy with her parents, Charles begins the greatest adventure of his life as a Private in the Union Army.
Charles: September the 13th, 1862 Dear Wife, We started from Auburn Friday morning at eight o' clock and we was* in New York Saturday morning at 6 o clock. We was met with great cheers all the way along. We are stationed right near Broadway and it's the liveliest place I ever see. They have the most ways for making money you ever see. They drawed us through the City with horses. Four horses to two cars and we had twenty-two passengers besides some freight cars. This is a beautiful place. We had two girls come and dance for us today. They both danced and played an accordion all at once. The nicest I ever saw. I want you to write and let me know when you started for home. I looked for you all the next day. I didn't know whether you had gone or not, but it was the lonesomest day I ever saw. I hope I will never feel so again. Our guns has just come and I think we will start right off. Your ever true and affectionate husband, Charles McDowell
Nancy: October the 14th, 1862 Dear Charly, I went clear to Alton last night to get a letter from you, but I didn't get one. If I don't get one tomorrow night, I don't know what I shall do. The other boys writes home that they don't have enough to eat and that they sleeps cold. October the 15th Dear Charly, Your letter has come at last. You said that you thought I had forgot you, but I never will forget you, the longest that I live. I have written a great many times, and I am not to blame if you do not get them. Your ever true and affectionate wife, Nancy McDowell
The remaining script covers Charles's service until the end of the war in 1865. During these three years, the audience will hear first-hand accounts of Nancy's time spent with Charles in a Washington fort, impressions of Lincoln, marches, battles, destruction of Confederate property, disease, desertions, and hangings. If students are the primary audience, they will be able to answer the following questions:
" What disease did both Charles and Nancy contract? Why? " What was Charles's impression of Confederate soldiers? " When the Northern soldiers were marching through Southern territory, what did they do to the farmlands? Why? " Give one of the reasons why the North won the war.
If you would like to purchase the script for your organization ($100.00 for four scripts includes rights for five performances), or invite those who already own it to perform it for you, please contact the author, Lisa Saunders at email@example.com or visit her website to learn more at www.authorlisasaunders.com. The script publisher, Heritage Books, can be reached at 1-866-282-2689. Students performing this script may potentially fulfill community service hours.
If you are a school and are interested in learning more about using the book EVER TRUE: A Union Private and His Wife as a primary resource for your students, visit www.authorlisasaunders.com to read excerpts. Publisher is at 1-800-876-6103 *In most cases, the original grammar was kept
"The story of how the marriage between Charles and Nancy survives separation, disease, the threat of death, and malicious gossip is compelling" Pamela Goddard, Ithaca Times
"I was thoroughly fascinated by the letters and much impressed by the artful way the material was woven together. The story is cohesive and informative, but charming and romantic in a very personal way." Corinne Will, Managing Editor, Heritage Books, Inc.
"My students are very enthusiastic rehearsing Ever True. Not only are they relating to Charles and Nancy, but they are also comparing and contrasting the American Civil War to conflicts in today's world. While gaining 'Reader's Theater' experience, they are connecting their love of drama with the history of our state. The students will be performing Ever True for middle school students and local historical societies." Joni Lincoln - Drama Coach, Dana L. West High School
"Having seen the original letters, I'm so grateful that Lisa took the time to transcribe and present them in their historic context. These letters give me the kind of detail I've never seen anywhere else!" Sharon Lubitow, Educator, Wayne County Historical Society
"The letters of Charles and Nancy are poignant and tender, 'homey' in their diction, and so direct." David Sisson, Professor of English and avid genealogist
"McDowell's case is unusual ..." "America's Civil War" magazine, September 2004
EVER TRUE: The Play
A Civil War Love Story
One Couple's Journey through the Civil War
by Lisa Saunders
Lisa Saunders, author of EVER TRUE, presents her play at SUNY Rockland Community College. Photo by C. Fournier, RCC.