Sixteen-year-old Ben Everett, working on the family farm near Skowhegan, Maine, had been anxious to enlist ever since President Lincoln had first called for volunteers. His chance came unexpectedly when a recruiting sergeant arrived in the village, and in February of 1863, Ben, eager and excited, started on his way to join the famed Twentieth Maine regiment of the Army of the Potomac,At Stoneman’s Switch, General Hooker’s winter encampment, Ben quickly learned to drill in the Virginia mud and to use his rifle. The coming of spring brought with it the harsh realities of war—exhausting marches in unbearable heat, uncertain rations, and the cold sweat of first battle—as the Army of the Potomac pounded after General Lee up into Maryland and Pennsylvania, to face him, finally, at Gettysburg.
Through ignominious defeats and hard-won, bitter victories, Ben fought with his comrades at Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and in the Wilderness skirmishes, until he was captured and sent to the infamous prison camp on Belle Isle, near Richmond. Ben’s eventual escape to fight again with his regiment until Lee’s final surrender at Appomattox is the climax of a dramatic story of courage and daring, told with remarkable authenticity of detail. Boys everywhere will agree that one of their favorite authors is at his superlative best in this book based on the actual day-to-day history of the Twentieth Maine, a regiment with a distinguished Civil War record.