Journey Into Darkness, a story in four parts, 3rd edition
J. Arthur Moore, author
Unlike the broad Civil War epics written by many, JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS is a four-part fiction about one young soldier's experience in the conflict itself, from raids on small farms in northwestern Arkansas to the battlefields of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness Campaign. Told through a researched blend of fact and fiction, it is a small story -- but a single thread in the grand fabric of the war. Yet, in a war in which more than 200,000 boys aged 17 and under served in the opposing armies, it is a rare look at the battlefield experience of the boy soldier, one with whom a student of today can relate. Duane Kinkade was ten years old in the summer of 1861 when raiders struck his farm after his pa had gone to the war; eleven the following winter when he left in search of his father and became a part of the war himself; thirteen the summer he returned home, a veteran soldier, after two and a half years of army life and battlefield experience. An intricate blend of fact and fiction, the thread of experience of the fictitious boy soldier runs through the fabric of a very real war and its historic violence as it actually happened. ON THE EVE OF CONFLICT begins this unique fictional account of Duane Kinkade's experience during the Civil War. It opens in the spring just as the war begins and the boy's father departs to disappear into the fabric of the distant conflict. During the summer, with his father away, Duane, his mother, his dog Pounder, and his friend Jamie share a season of uneasy calm into a summer of unexpected violence and the loss of his mother to that violence, toward a winter of loneliness. Finally, in the spring of 1862, Duane sets out in search of his father whose last letter came from somewhere in western Tennessee. UP FROM CORINTH continues the story as Duane's search for his father carries him into the conflict and battle near a church called Shiloh at a place called Pittsburg Landing. The circumstances of battle land him with the Union Army in the care of an army surgeon and his teenage ward. The story of that battle and the months that follow continues through the summer and fall of 1862 as the Army of the Ohio moves into Tennessee and Kentucky. Skirmishes with elements of Confederate cavalry, illness, and the hardships of life in an army on the move, culminate in full battle at Perryville. Finally, in the winter of 1862-1863, in the aftermath of a bitterly cold and bloody battle at Murfreesboro, Duane is able to begin his trek back to the Confederate Army. ACROSS THE VALLEY TO DARKNESS continues the story as Duane's decision to set out on his own to join Bragg's army at Tullahoma proves to be a mistake. A rapid chain of events carries him from capture along a snowy road by a renegade band of Union cavalry, to near death in a blizzard in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in its winter camp around Fredericksburg. Late winter is a time of reprieve from war as the boy joins a company from Alabama in which one forth of its members are related. After a rough start with the drummer boy, not much older than himself, Duane finds acceptance and a sense of belonging. The beginning of spring sees the reopening of warfare in the battle at Chancellorsville. As 1863 stretches into summer, the army moves north into Pennsylvania. Duane finds himself crossing the valley at Gettysburg in a great charge against the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. TOWARD THE END OF THE SEARCH concludes the story of Duane's experience. Reunited with his friends in the Union Army during the months following the battle at Gettysburg, when they pass through town for the dedication of the new cemetery, Duane accompanies them to become part of General David Birney's division of the Army of the Potomac. As the army prepares to begin its spring campaign, Duane is told he must leave the army due to his blindness which had resulted from the fighting at Gettysburg. But there is no time to arrange such a departure as the spring campaign of 1864 begins with the horrible slaughter during the weeks from The Wilderness, to Spotsylvania Court House, to Cold Harbor. At Cold Harbor, the death of his closest friend and a letter about his pa send Duane from the war to return homeward in the company of Jonah Christopher, the young son of a Yankee sutler. Journeying first to return the body of his friend to his home town in Illinois, the thirteen-year-old veteran of two and a half years of combat continues homeward where he is reunited with his father.