How the Book Came to Be

How does a book begin?

It usually involves the imagination—or inspiration. In the case of Tillie Pierce’s story, the book began the moment I heard the story of Tillie Pierce and Hettie, Sadie, and Mollie Shriver while taking a tour of the Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg, PA, one October afternoon. Inspiration, indeed!

Nancie Gudmestad, owner of the museum, stood dressed as a Civil-War-era lady, her long dress sweeping wide due to the hoop skirt beneath as she walked through the Shriver House. She took us from room to room, telling the story of a young mother, her two little daughters, and the teenage girl next door, Tillie Pierce. The mother was Hettie (Weikert) Shriver, whose husband George had left to serve in the Union Army. Her little girls were Sadie (age 7) and Mollie (age 5) in 1863.

The story Nancie proceeded to tell was captivating. I’d taught American history for years and had read many books about the Civil War, even about the Battle of Gettysburg in particular. But I’d never heard this story—a true tale of what some civilian women endured before, during, and after this fateful battle. Tillie and the Shrivers began to feel like people I knew but wanted to know better. I asked questions, bought books, read articles, joined the Adams County Historical Society. A book was taking shape in my mind, and it was one I wanted to share with young readers across the country. Thanks to the people at Lerner Publishing Group, this dream has come true.

To read more about the book on Lerner’s website, click on the book cover above. To take a peek at the interior, click on on the image to the right. —>

Below are some icons that will take you to websites where you can learn more about Gettysburg, the battle, and the 150th anniversary events.

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Gettysburg’s Historic Week

Events are underway at Gettysburg to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest battle on American soil. All weekend and into next week, reenactors will be providing modern viewers an experience they won’t soon forget. In the meantime, the Civil War Trust has been busy creating online experiences. As someone who won’t get to attend the actual event, I’m happy to be able to watch via my computer screen.

gettysburg-animated-map-preloadFirst, let me highly recommend the animated, narrated battle map video. Because the battle covered more than 20 square miles, it’s often difficult to envision just where the action was taking place. This map makes it so easy to view troop movement and the battle lines. You MUST see this amazing map at or by clicking on the image above.

gettysburg-battle-app-limitedThe Civil War Trust has also created The Gettysburg Battle App for Apple and Android users. It is a FREE GPS-enabled battle guide with plenty of maps, historical content, photos, and other resources. It’s narrated by Civil War expert, Garry Adelman. Go HERE for more information. The app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or at Google Play. (You can also download Battle Apps for other battles, including Antietam, Vicksburg, Bull Run, and more. For more information about features, go here.

I’ll be adding more Gettysburg details daily. For now, though, kudos to the Civil War Trust for creating some  informative digital products!


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Gettysburg Is Gearing Up

Here’s the official National Park Service page about the events taking place in Gettysburg in 2013:

150-GETTjrangerpatch-100X103Families and kids will find plenty of things to keep them busy and engaged. Did you know your youngster can earn a badge at Gettysburg? If I were a kid, I’d love to have this badge to show off! Find out more here.


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A Gettysburg Journal

I’ll be traveling to Gettysburg this year, probably several times, and I want to share what I see and hear and learn with you. I’ll also share news of events regarding the 150th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg. So many great activities are planned. And I’ll be doing book signings at various bookstores and museums. Hope you’ll come by!

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