Lost To Time

Steve Procko Author Interview

Rebel Correspondent tells the story of Arba F. Shaw and his time in the Civil war through a combination of research and Shaw’s own writings for a newspaper.Why was this an important book for you to write?

Shaw wrote his memories about his time as young Confederate private in the 4th Georgia Cavalry over about a six week period from late December 1901 to February 1902. You can imagine him writing it by lantern light in his farmstead located in the shadow of Lookout mountain. It would have been one continuous manuscript. Then it was serialized into 55 articles in the Walker County Messenger, where he was a correspondent, through early 1903. It was pretty much lost to time until I stumbled across the mention of his writings and was able to piece together all of the articles so they read as a continuous manuscript once again. I felt it was an important piece of history to see the light of day again, and I was intrigued by all of the facts he wrote about and wanted to find out how accurate his memory was, more than 35 years after the war ended. 

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It is important for readers to understand the difficulties of soldiers trying to survive on either side. Most were young like Shaw (He had just turned 18 when he enlisted) and were leaving home for the first time. They had to deal with the communal illnesses caused by having hundreds of men living together through all kinds of weather while also not understanding the cause of most diseases. Shaw himself became very sick, likely with Typhoid in the first year. More men were killed by illness, like rubella than died in battle.

Soldiers on both sides were just trying to survive the experience.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

Shaw witnessed events that had not been reported in detail. Like the death of soldiers in his regiment or others who his regiment encountered that died when they attacked the regiment. Families knew their some of their loved ones went off to war and died, but didn’t know how or where. Shaw remembered these events in very accurate detail years later providing context to lives lost.

Shaw was also wounded twice. The second time he recounts a battle in Campbellsville, TN in September 1864 and mentions the face to face encounter with a Union soldier wearing a red sash. I was able to research in detail the events of that day, and the “red sash” was an important clue to identifying the soldier that wounded Arba Shaw. A Union sergeant. Shaw himself fired on the man and he sustained a mortal wound to the lungs. In Shaw’s lifetime, he never knew who the man was that left him with a damaged right arm that he never regained full use of. Now we know who that was. It’s that kind of sleuthing that I really enjoy. Researching something that discovers an answer to a mystery. Rebel Correspondent had many instances like this.

What do you What is one thing readers take away from your book?

I hope they enjoy learning what it was like for the average soldier in the American Civil War. A young private who went to war, was wounded twice, and came home alive. He was on the losing side, and had to take a loyalty oath to become an American citizen again. I am sure that the political side of why the Civil War was fought was not important to Arba after the war ended. He was proud of doing what he considered service he was required to do. He participated in the veteran groups after the war, but ultimately was a patriotic American the rest of his life. Happy to have survived and happy to return to a normal life on the family farmstead and to get married and have his own family. I think he treasured and discovered the value of a productive life.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | YouTube

Distinguished Favorite, United States History – 2023 Independent Press Awards

Rebel Correspondent is the true story of a young man who joined the Confederate Army days after his eighteenth birthday and served bravely until the war ended. Wounded twice, he emerged a changed person. But he wasn’t just a returning veteran; he was also a writer.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Arba F. Shaw was a fifty-seven-year-old farmer. On a chilly December day in 1901, he put pen to paper to write his memories of being a Rebel Private in the 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery), C.S.A. He completed writing his account in February 1902. His local newspaper, the Walker County Messenger, in Lafayette, Georgia, published his account in more than fifty articles from 1901 to 1903.

Then it was all but forgotten. Until Now.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 12, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: