This juvenile dime novel, first published in 1892, tells the story of “Cavalry Curt,” a Union scout trying to survive in Confederate territory during Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Mara Morland, a young woman whose brother is both a Confederate soldier and an old school friend of Curt. Much of the narrative focuses on Mara’s efforts to save Curt’s life at great risk to herself and her family.
Written less than thirty years after the events framing the narrative, the book serves as an interesting example of how the Civil War was portrayed to a young audience while it was still quite fresh in the national memory. Some of the complexities of the situation — particularly the conflicts between personal and political allegiances — are important to the narrative, though the causes and politics of the war are barely discussed, and the book’s portrayal of slavery and enslaved people is the sanitized version common to literature of this period. The book is also noteworthy for its portrayal of Mara Morland, who is an unusually brave and competent female protagonist for a “boys’ story” (though her motivations still largely align with predictable gender stereotypes).
If you would like to read the book for yourself, you can find it for online reading or download in common eBook formats through Project Gutenberg.
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