Hattie’s War

Hattie's War, a middle-grade historical novel set in Milwaukee during the Civil War

Hattie’s War
A Midwestern middle-grade historical novel
by Hilda and Emily Demuth

Crispin Books • November 1, 2014
Trade Softcover • 170 pages  • 5.5″ x 8.5″
Juvenile Fiction / Chapter Book / Ages 8–12
$13.95 • ISBN 978-1-883953-76-8

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Civil War–era
Milwaukee / Wisconsin
Veteran’s Issues
19th-Century Origins of Baseball


Plank Road Summer

Plank Road Winter


Hattie’s War is a middle-grade historical novel about a girl, Hattie Bigelow, who lives in Milwaukee near the end of the Civil War. In 1864, eleven-year-old Hattie is far more interested in the emerging sport of base ball than in sewing circles and other women’s efforts to support the Union cause.

But when her good friend Charlie enlists as a drummer boy with the Thirty-ninth Wisconsin, and her mother becomes involved in the new Soldiers’ Home Society, Hattie wants to do her part. Still, must her backyard playing field be turned into a vegetable garden to feed the soldiers?

In the course of a year, the enormous costs of the war place great demands on young Hattie, who learns to make sacrifices and work with others, especially to help prepare for the flood of returning soldiers.

The story incorporates history about the origins of baseball in the mid–19th century, and looks at issues of caring for military veterans upon their return from the physical and psychological ravages of the battlefield (with the home-front “Soldiers’ Homes” later evolving into today’s Veterans Administration hospitals and long-term care facilities).


Hilda and Emily Demuth grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, the setting for their previous historical novels Plank Road Summer and Plank Road Winter (Crickhollow Books). They encourage all to contribute to veterans’ causes that care for those “who shall have borne the battle,” such as Milwaukee’s West Side Soldiers Aid Society, which preserves the legacy of Civil War history and supports programs for today’s veterans.

Hilda Demuth, a high school English teacher, lives near Valparaiso, Indiana. She is also the author of Kingdom of the Birds, a historical novel for young readers set in Germany in 1521, at the time of Martin Luther. Emily Demuth, a freelance writer, lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.