Not One Among Them Whole

“…a magnificently harrowing trip into the bloody horrors of the Battle of Gettysburg, populated with unforgettable characters and written with stunning precision and beauty.”
— Taylor Polites, author of THE REBEL WIFE 

Not One Among Them Whole, A Novel of Gettysburg, by Edison McDaniels

Click the book cover to buy the Kindle version from Amazon for just $4.99!

It is the summer of 1863, and the greatest battle ever fought on American soil is in full tilt. Southern Pennsylvania has become one great grinding stone and thousands of dead or dying are its grist. In this tilted landscape, reputations are made, careers are ruined, and men and women are driven to the brink in the wake of two armies intent on killing one another. Yet opportunity is everywhere…

For the privates and officers who fight the battle, it’s a kill or be killed world, with salvation or damnation just a bullet away…

For one undertaker in particular, the dead are a canvas, and his ability to make a body reflect the living individual is nothing short of uncanny. For Jupiter Jones, the burgeoning dead themselves are the opportunity…

And finally, for one teenage former slave, alive only because his father had the courage to bury him, opportunity comes in the form of a ten-year-old boy with a creel and only one shoe, who may or may not be a ghost…

In the summer of 1863, humanity itself is under siege. What happens amid the carnage and human flotsam of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, will be unholy, unnerving, and all but unbearable, with only this certain: not one among them will escape unscathed.

Here, hell is in session.

And it’s the devil’s own day.

 

“McDaniels’ fine Civil War novel is not the world of Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant or even Abraham Lincoln. McDaniels’ Gettysburg is a microcosm, a seething world of its own from which no player escapes.”
— P.B. Sharp, an Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

 

~ THE CHARACTERS ~

Ezra Coffin, a severely wounded Union soldier, has never seen his infant son, and perhaps never will…

Major Tom Jersey, a Confederate officer, awakens terribly mangled in the aftermath of combat, his only companions: the wounded enemy, without whom he can’t survive, and the ghost of his son—who may be his only means of escape…

Major Solomon Hardy, chief surgeon, who stands at the tables until his health fails—then watches over his own dying son…

Major Josiah Boyd, a gifted surgeon but a flawed man. His time behind the knife may cost him everything—and his patients even more…

Captain Tobias Ellis, his courage under fire makes him a hero, but he may just be the most flawed of all—and the most dangerous…

Liza Coffin, who isn’t eighteen, but already has been a homeless orphan, a mother, and perhaps now a widow too…

Jupiter Jones, showman extraordinaire, itinerant undertaker, and reader of the dead. His healing Oil, acquired from the equatorial coast of West Africa, may be the real thing…

And finally Cuuda Monk, a teenage boy and former slave, alive today only because his father had the courage to bury him when the end came. His visions of the boy with the creel may make him the sanest man in the land—and just may be the means to all their salvation…

It is the summer of 1863 and humanity is under siege. What happens next amid the carnage and human flotsam will be unholy, unnerving, and all but unbearable.

It is the summer of 1863 and everything is about to change.

Everything.

Forever.

Not One Among Them Whole, A Novel of Gettysburg, by Edison McDaniels

Click the book cover to buy the Kindle version from Amazon for just $4.99!

 ~An Excerpt~

The evening of the second day of battle. The sky ran blood red against the setting sun and beneath it, beside a river two miles east of the field where Ezra Coffin had been shot down and clubbed by two Confederates earlier that day, an old wooden building stood over the ground like a towering monument. A two story structure with a vestry above and pews below, the old Lutheran Church dominated the surrounding land, and the piece of Rock Creek flowing past it.

Within its holy walls, the US Army had set up a temporary field hospital.

Here, in the chancel beneath tall, empty windows once filled with colorful stained glass, the surgeons plied their trade as they stood over either of a pair of heavy wooden doors. Pulled from their hinges in the front hall, the doors had been laid flat over several pews and were unrecognizable as anything save the operating tables they now were. So when Surgeon Boyd stood tall and passed from the nave to the vestibule, he looked out into the somber light of dusk without the obstructing doors. A three foot high stone wall enclosed a large side yard off the front steps. A thin, smoky veil had drifted across from the battlefield and hung above the churchyard, like a pall of visible suffering.

Hundreds of men crowded the yard, and not a one among them was whole. They covered the ground thick as maggots on a week old carcass, the dirt itself hardly anywhere visible. No one could move without all feeling it and thus rising together in a hellish contortion of agony. Everywhere men moaned, shouting for water and praying for God to end their suffering. They screamed and groaned in an unending litany, calling for mothers and wives and fathers and sisters. The predominant color was blue, though nauseations of red intruded throughout. Men lay half naked, piled on top of one another in scenes to pitiful to imagine. Bloodied heads rested on shoulders and laps, broken feet upon arms. Tired hands held in torn guts and torsos twisted every which way. Dirty shirts dressed the bleeding bodies and not enough material existed in all the world to sop up the spilled blood. A boy clad in gray, perhaps the only rebel among them, lay quietly in one corner, raised arm rigid with a finger extended, as if pointing to the heavens. His face was a singular portrait of contentment among the misery. Broken bones, dirty white and soiled with the passing of hours since injury, were everywhere abundant. All manner of devices splinted the damaged and battered limbs: muskets, branches, bayonets, lengths of wood or iron from barns and carts. One individual had bone splinted with bone: the dried femur of a horse was lashed to his busted shin. A blind man, his eyes subtracted by the minié ball that had enfiladed him, moaned over and over “I’m kilt, I’m kilt! Oh Gawd, I’m kilt!” Others lay limp, in shock. These last were mostly quiet, their color unnaturally pale. It was agonizingly humid in the still air of the yard. The stink of blood mixed with human waste produced a potent and offensive odor not unlike that of a hog farm in the high heat of a South Carolina summer. Swarms of fat, green blowflies everywhere harassed the soldiers to the point of insanity, biting at their wounds. Their steady buzz was a noise straight out of hell itself, a distress to the ears.

Townsfolk, who themselves had little more than the clothes on their backs, moved among this human flotsam, who seemed now to resemble men only in the vaguest outlines of their being. Here and there women wept, as if to do so was helpful, and others brought water or dumped slop pots. No modesty here, if a man had to go he went. A score of hospital stewards moved about as well, recording the men’s names and hometowns for the records and death registries. Nurses—they were all men—offered up laudanum, morphine, and whiskey against the pain, as well as a reassurance that someone would soon help them. But there was too much work to be done in this churchyard and ‘soon’ was a day or more away.

For too many of these, time would be their only salvation.

 

NOT ONE AMONG THEM WHOLE is available for the Amazon Kindle & in trade paperback. Also available in other eBook formats.
Now featured at the National Park Service bookstore at Gettysburg itself.

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