A Story about A Girl, Her Love of Baseball, and a Jar of Jelly opens a window to veterans issues.
Nov. 6, 2014 – MILWAUKEE – HATTIE’S WAR is a story of a girl 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?
As the year passes, young Hattie learns to make sacrifices and work with others, especially to help her community prepare for the flood of returning soldiers. The books explores issues of home-front efforts to care for the needs of returning Civil War veterans, many who lost limbs or suffered from the ravages of fever.
The story revolves around a group of women who are dedicated to building a new “Soldiers’ Home” – a historic building in Milwaukee which later became the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, managed by the Veterans Administration.
The book also touches on the origins of baseball in the mid-19th century. Played in scattered locations, the sport began to spread during the Civil War years as men from diverse hometowns – some of whom were avid base ball players – met in the military encampments and organized the occasional game.
The story is rooted in an account of a real girl named Hattie Bigelow from Milwaukee who was thanked in a letter sent home by a Civil War solider, thanking young Hattie for the lovely jar of jelly he had received from her in a care package to the troops.
HILDA AND EMILY DEMUTH grew up in southeastern Wisconsin, near Union Grove on a historic “plank road” site, which was the setting for their historical novels Plank Road Summer and Plank Road Winter. They were helped with the research for Hattie’s War by members of Milwaukee’s West Side Soldiers Aid Society, which preserves the legacy of Civil War history and supports programs for today’s veterans.
The publisher, Crispin Books, is an independent press based in Milwaukee. With its sibling imprint Crickhollow Books, Crispin produces diverse books for adult and younger readers. For more, visit its website at http://www.CrickhollowBooks.com.