Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Putting the story into written form

A frequent subject on this blog has been the story of the murder of Captain John Thornhill in June 1865 by former fellow soldiers of the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, Union Army at the end of the Civil War. The subsequent court martial and civil case went up to the US Supreme Court and rocked Jefferson County, Tennessee. While researching this notorious case I have been able to find hundreds of pages of Court documents, depositions, newspaper articles, Army files, letters to the President, pension files, and other fascinating bits of history. There is more than enough source material for a book. With National Novel Writing Month underway and posts from fellow bloggers, I have some inspiration to begin tackling this project.
Source: NYPL Digital Collection. 29 March 1862.

I don't plan to finish this project in November. My first step is to complete an inventory of all the source material, blog posts and related documents I have collected on the Thornhill case. I also need to clean up my list of key participants in the case. I have a chunk of time off coming in December so I am aiming for dedicated writing next month, and to do the organizing this month. This is still a side project while I have other primary obligations and writing to do. But it is a fascinating story and I look forward to seeing it turned into book form.

I have recently been reading Simon Goodman's The Orpheus Clock, which describes the true story of the author's family and the battle to recover the family's stolen art collection from the Nazis after World War II. The book has been quite a dramatic read and additional inspiration to bring the story of the Thornhill case into written form. More to come on this in the near future.

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