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.
- 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.
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.
Ultimately, 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.
Posted in Journey, Misc., My Book, Publishing, Reading, Violent Loss, Writing
Tagged Ann Rule, bereavement, books, grief, true crime, violent death, violent loss, writing
Connie 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: