The Nameless and the Faceless of the Civil War is a collection of 28 Poems and 28 Essays. The inspiration of the collection comes from the very first poem/essay on Michael Dougherty of the 13th Pennsylvania Calvary. Michael was captured and imprisoned in several Confederate prisons, such as Pemberton, Barrett’s, Libby, Belle Island and finally Andersonville Prison in Andersonville, Georgia. Over the course of 23 months and 17 days confined to prison, Michael kept a diary. It was only after I read the diary, especially his confinement at Andersonville that the horror of this death camp came to life.
Overcrowding, starvation, madness and sickness were prevalent throughout the prison. And it was Michael’s daily count of men who were dead or dying stating them as numbers without names or faces that the inspiration for this collection was brought forth. What of all of those thousands of soldiers, who were they? History tells us that after the Civil War many of these soldiers were eventually identified, yet what of the ones that were not? And of the civilians of the Civil War, those who starved to death, fell to disease or simply died of a broken heart? What of them?
Most of the poems and essays are based on actual historical facts about a person or an event of the war. The narrator in the poem is a civilian or soldier lost to history, yet telling their story of what is was like to be at Shiloh, or be tended to by Louisa May Alcott, or watch John Wilkes Booth die on the front porch of Garrett farm on April 26, 1865. The essays are the factual representation as provided by history.
The result of the combination of the narration and rhyme of the poem and the historical reference of the essay brings forth these voices and gives those lost and forgotten souls a chance to be heard, to tell their story and live again.