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  • Writer's pictureDerrick

End of Year Updates

2017 has finally come to an end, and what a year it was! It was back in November that I finally decided to begin the journey of telling the story of the Battle of Panther Creek in Owensboro, Kentucky, and editing the diary of John F. Locke of the 14th Tennessee. These are the first true writing projects I have ever attempted outside of papers I wrote for my Bachelors and Masters degrees, so it has been a ton of fun in writing about things I am truly passionate about.

Last week, I was able to add about ten or so pages to the manuscript. A miracle considering we had multiple family Christmas celebrations, my wife being out of town for work, and my son coming down with the good ole RSV. On Thursday, I had a few minutes to kill so I made a quick trip to the location of the battle at Sutherland Hill, the second day of the fight.

(Sutherland Hill)

(Sutherland Hill at a distance of about half a mile.)

As I am putting the story together, I'm trying to make sense of what the witnesses say. I have read a lot on the Civil War, but the descriptions of the Confederate lines on and around this hill, and the Federal assault are beyond confusing. The distances they give seem way off considering where the road currently sits. Is this because the current road was not made over the original? Something I am going to have to figure out in the coming weeks. Other than that, the weather was perfectly clear, and traffic was pretty light for me to grab some great distance shots of the hill.

One of the most important parts of telling this story is learning about the major players involved. One of those is Colonel Gabriel Netter, who was in Owensboro recruiting the 15th Kentucky Cavalry the day things got interesting. I've contacted some people that are distantly related to him who claim to have photos and other stories. One is in France, where Netter was born, so I hope to hear back from them soon!

Thoughts and goals for 2018...

Well first and foremost my number one goal is to finish the book, my main project, on the Battle of Panther Creek and Sutherland Hill. I originally was going to call it Torn Asunder, but.....I discovered another book by the same title, and it is about the war in my neighboring county. It isn't a book that can be found on Amazon or anything, but I was a little disappointed to discover that. Is a name change in order? Probably, but I'm not really worried about the title as of yet. I gave myself until Spring Break to complete the project, and I am confident I should at least be nearing completion by that point. If not Spring Break, then the end of the school year.

John F. Locke's diary is another goal. The diary has been transcribed, and once I finish my main project, I will focus on completing the editing process on it. The end of the summer for its completion is my goal on this. I'd like to visit the Tennessee State Museum to view the 14th Tennessee's flag which was captured during Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Also, locating John's final resting place. I have a feeling that it is not in Stewart County, Tennessee where he was from, but possibly near Murray, Kentucky. Researching more into the 14th Tennessee will also be one of the main steps in finishing this project and meeting my goal.

As for my fall of 2018 goal, I have started thinking pretty seriously about Shiloh. There is something about that battle that just pulls at me. I have probably binge-listened to The Civil War (1861-1865): A History Podcast's 15 episodes at least three times now over the past year and a half. I also just ordered three books on Shiloh this morning to help me get ready for this project. Tons of books have already been written on the overall battle itself. Writing another one I feel would just be more of the same ole story. For this particular project I am proposing a book that focuses on the Kentucky Regiments, both Union and Confederate, that fought at Shiloh. So far, I cannot find anything that has been written on this subject. It ought to be a fun and enlightening project!

(The only "monument" for Kentucky soldiers on either side at Shiloh)

So there you have it. A brief overview of my very short year of writing in 2017, and my goals for this year. Happy New Year!


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