Based on real events, this gripping tale of military injustice ranks alongside The Red Badge of Courage as one of the most original and timeless Civil War novels ever published
On a fine September morning in 1864, Lt. Marius Catto leads a platoon of Union army soldiers across a Kentucky meadow. A figure rises in the distance and takes aim. Catto dives to the ground, but it’s too late—the lead ball lodged in his shoulder will be his final souvenir of the war.
The shooter, a barefoot teenager named Thomas Martin, claims to be a Confederate soldier, but he wears no uniform and his rifle is older than most of Catto’s men. Taken prisoner and brought back to the garrison in Cincinnati, Martin is court-martialed as a guerrilla, found guilty, and sentenced to death by firing squad.
From the bare facts of a long-forgotten incident in the final days of the Civil War, author Stephen Becker has crafted an indelible portrait of the military mindset that is as true today as it was one hundred fifty years ago. The story of Thomas Martin—a sixteen-year-old orphan whose only advocate was the man he shot—is a riveting tale of courage, loyalty, and the crushing inhumanity of life during wartime.