“It is for us the living…”

Polishing Your Prose:

What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster SweetToday is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Private Oney F. Sweet fought at Gettysburg and wrote afterward that he saw 23 of his comrades fall in as many minutes.

Originally posted on Emerging Civil War:

LincolnSeatedFour score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember…

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The Long-Awaited “Aftermath of Battle” is Now Available

Polishing Your Prose:

New book: Meg Thompson Groeling’s “The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead” is now available.

Thompson, a self-proclaimed “learner,” said of her book: “If there’s a theme, it’s that the things we take for granted—that there’s a way to replace a leg and there’s a veteran’s administration—were not in place before the war. These are all a result of the Civil War.”

Originally posted on Emerging Civil War:

MegThompson-smby ECW correspondent Liam McGurl

ECW contributor Meg Thompson Groeling released her first full-length book, The Aftermath Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead, on Oct. 19—serving up a perspective as unconventional as her purple hair.

Groeling, 65, who is currently pursuing a degree in military history, has proven that being the outlier can be a beautiful thing. According to Groeling, while being a woman in a predominantly male-run field hasn’t always been easy, her unique perspective is one that adds to an important conversation.

“The book took just about a year, and there was a lot of research involved,” Groeling said. “The rest of the Emerging Civil War books are on one topic, one battle, one person or one incident, and I had to become an ‘expert’ on 18 different things. Because of the breath of the topics, I had to learn everything from who was the last Civil…

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Survivors Mission: Always Fly Away by Milena Sellers Phillips

Polishing Your Prose:

New book from a mother whose 9-year-old son, Jonathan Sellers, was murdered, along with his best friend, 13-year-old Charlie Keever.

The author, Milena Sellers Philips, will be signing books at the Fallbrook library (North San Diego County, California) on November 8, 2-4 p.m.

Read Connie Saindon’s full blog post at the link below.

Originally posted on Survivors of Violent Loss:

The Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Foundation (JSCK) was founded by Dennis Sellers aAFA Cover V-200knd Milena (Sellers) Phillips in 2005

As difficult as it is to imagine how folks learn to live with violent death, it is as hard to imagine the work they do in memory of their loved ones.  The creativity and hard work that comes from such endeavors.  An important aspect of my work is to note on what folks do in the aftermath to honor their loved ones and do something to improve the world.

Here is an example of one of those efforts, just one more way this group has made a difference.

On March 27, 1993 two best friends, 9 year old Jonathan and 13 year old Charlie, left home for a bike ride on a beautiful March morning and never returned. Their ride was cut short when a sexual predator murdered them both. For 8…

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What the Private Saw: Antietam

What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet

What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet

On Sept. 25, 1861, Private Oney Foster Sweet wrote to his mother, Caroline Foster Sweet, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He and his comrades in the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Battery F, believed the war would be over in a few months, and they would be home by Christmas:

We live tip top, have peaches and cream and peach pie, etc. . . . I expect there will be some fighting near Washington soon and I want to be down there when they fight. . . . Do not worry about me, I will take care of myself. I think I shall like a soldier’s life first rate.

A year later, however, following the Battle of Antietam, he revealed a different mindset:

I went over the field after the fight and the dead and wounded lay so thick you could hardly step. Some had legs, arms, and heads torn off. Some groaning and breathing their last. I never want to see such a sight again and I hope I may never have the bullets fly so close to my head again. I have seen enough of war.

He did not know at the time that the war would last another two and a half years, that he would see that scene repeated many more times.

Confederate dead at Spotsylvania.

Confederate dead at Spotsylvania.


  • San Diego Civil War Round Table, October 21, 2015, 8 p.m.: Guest speaker: Larry Edwards, editor of What the Private Saw: The Civil War Letters & Diaries of Oney Foster Sweet. Location: Palisades Presbyterian Church, 6301 Birchwood St, San Diego, CA 92120, in the Allied Gardens area.


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NCVC Follow Up – Your comments and Questions answered.

Originally posted on Survivors of Violent Loss:

Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & Resources         NCVC-2015 Follow-up

Thanks to so many of you for the support and encouragement we received on the work we are doing to help Survivors of Homicide and thanks to all of you who work with them as well.  By our continued commitment together we will increase what is available to such families.

This follow up letter is in response to the many requests and comments received.  

Your feedback is appreciated and I hope we have answered your questions below.

Some of your comments were:

I have come to many workshops and until now, they only told us what we did wrong. Thanks so much for helping me feel so much better with what I am doing.

I am responsible for funding in our state and we have six programs for homicide and so little resources.  I want  your book for our programs.

I have been working with folks for…

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Obits on True-Crime Writer Ann Rule Should Tell Whole Story

Noted true-crime writer Ann Rule has died. I cannot honestly say that I am not saddened by her passing. More of a sense of relief.

Even the New York Times ran an obit on her, as did the Seattle Times.

I empathize with the family’s sense of loss. At least Ann Rule died a natural death after living a full life, and her survivors don’t have to deal with the horror of homicide. But I have no sorrow for the woman herself. Not after the way she treated me and my family, and others that she wrote about.

Dare I Call It Murder? - A Memoir of Violent LossUltimately, she and her publisher became unrepentant opportunists, capitalizing on the misery of others, and, in the case of the deaths of my parents, Loren and Jody Edwards, with little regard for the facts.

I understand the unwritten rule of not speaking ill of the dead, but painting a rosy portrait of an author with documented factual errors in her so-called true-crime books does no service to the newspapers’ readers, or hers.

In my book, Dare I Call It Murder?, I documented many egregious errors and omissions in her account of my parents’ deaths.

Rick Swart documented errors in another of her books in his article, “Ann Rule’s Sloppy Storytelling,” published in the Seattle Weekly in 2011. Ann Rule sued Swart and the publication for defamation, but a Seattle court tossed out the lawsuit last year.


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‘Murder Survivor’s Handbook’ Author Connie Saindon to Speak at POMC Conference, NCVC Training Institute

Murder Survivor's Handbook: Real-life Stories, Tips & ResourcesConnie Saindon, author of “Murder Survivor’s Handbook,” will make presentations at the annual conferences of Parents of Murdered Children, and the National Center for Victims of Crime. She will discuss “Grief and Resiliency,” “Dealing with the Media,” and “Expanding Resources for Those Who Live and Work with Families Traumatized by Homicide.”

Learn more about her presentations and her books at:



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