Plot Summary The Civil War Era was one of the most divisive and heart-rending in our nation's history.For 18-year-old Adair Colley it brought about intense personal change as well.For three years Adair had seen at a distance soldiers of both armies riding up these river valleys in search of one another.Her brother, John Lee, rode to the ridges to stand watch for them every morning, for the Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry under Colonel Reeves would take your horses as quick as would any Militia.That the Union had arrested and sent away the Blakely sisters and the Sutton girls and old Mrs. Nobody seemed to know where it was that the women were being held in that far city, but after a while word came back that it was in places called Gratiot and the St. In stained coats of Federal blue the Militia came upon the towns of Doniphan Courthouse and Alton, the Crites homestead and all the house places down Pike Creek and the Current River, carrying away jewelry and horses, quilts and silver, to be sold on the black market in St. They burned houses and shot whoever got in their way.They beat Adair's father in the face with such force Adair thought they had put his eye out. The cold rain came down driving like hail, and steam blossomed hot out of the fireplace where water was streaming down the chimney.
Because he was a justice of the peace, he was called Squire, and the newspapers he subscribed to came addressed to Squire M. He read in the Little Rock paper that the Missouri Union Militia was being thrown together out of troops dredged up from the riverfronts of St.Louis and Alton, from the muddy Missouri River towns.Men who joined up for a keg of whiskey and five dollars a month.Good Morning America Book Club Pick For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality.For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee.The trained and disciplined Union troops had long ago been sent to the battlefields of the East, to Virginia and Tennessee, while the hastily recruited Militia had been sent down into the Ozarks to chastise the families whose men had gone to the Southern Army, to catch and arrest them when they returned from their six-month enlistments, and to punish those who might be suspected of harboring Southern sympathies.