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Halfway to Magnolia House

By Anthony Mays All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Drama

Blurb

Laura Wingate’s life in New York City was falling apart. The man she wanted to marry could not commit, and her job as a museum exhibitions manager was growing stale. Needing to reexamine her life, she packed up and temporarily returned to Magnolia House on the outskirts of Alexandria, Louisiana. A place she had shared many happy days with her grandparents. Along the way, Laura met Kendrick Reynolds, a Hollywood Director, and learned he was preparing to direct a movie, in and around Alexandria, based on the American Civil War’s Red River Campaign. She soon became enchanted by Kendrick, but a forgotten high school classmate competed for her attention, putting Kendrick in danger. With film production underway, Laura became intrigued by the historical events of 1864, and the rumors about Magnolia House’s involvement with the Underground Railroad. An artifact she discovered in the attic suggested the rumors were not unfounded, but she could not decipher its meaning. When her two suitors accidently stumbled across the evidence she was looking for, they put aside their differences, and made a pact to keep it from her. Little did she suspect, the past was going to collide with the present

Prologue

Red River Campaign, March 1864

The Red River Campaign or Red River Expedition comprised a series of battles fought along the Red River in Louisiana during the American Civil War from March 10 to May 22, 1864. The campaign was a Union initiative, fought between approximately 30,000 Union troops under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, and Confederate troops under the command of Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, whose strength varied from 6,000 to 15,000.

The campaign was primarily the plan of Union General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck, and a diversion from Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s plan to surround the main Confederate armies by using Banks’s Army of the Gulf to capture Mobile, Alabama. It was a Union failure, characterized by poor planning and mismanagement, in which not a single objective was fully accomplished. Taylor successfully defended the Red River Valley with a smaller force. However, the decision of Taylor’s immediate superior, General Edmund Kirby Smith to send half of Taylor’s force north to Arkansas rather than south in pursuit of the retreating Banks after the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of Pleasant Hill, led to bitter enmity between Taylor and Kirby Smith.

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