The Bloody Ground (Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles #4) [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this fourth, final, and rousing installment of Nathaniel Starbuck's Civil War adventures, Nate is given command of a punishment battalion: a motley collection of cowards, thieves, deserters, and murderers. Setting off to Join General Robert E. Lee's army, Starbuck's men reach Harper's Ferry in time to take part in Stonewall Jackson's capture of the Union garrison. From there, the regiment moves on to the legendary horror of Sharpsburg, beside the Antietam Creek, forever to be remembered as the bloodiest single...

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The Bloody Ground (Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles #4)

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Overview

In this fourth, final, and rousing installment of Nathaniel Starbuck's Civil War adventures, Nate is given command of a punishment battalion: a motley collection of cowards, thieves, deserters, and murderers. Setting off to Join General Robert E. Lee's army, Starbuck's men reach Harper's Ferry in time to take part in Stonewall Jackson's capture of the Union garrison. From there, the regiment moves on to the legendary horror of Sharpsburg, beside the Antietam Creek, forever to be remembered as the bloodiest single day of the war. There, Starbuck and his troop will have their courage and commitment tested as never before.

Providing gritty, realistic, and detailed experience of the famous battles of the Civil War, this novel continues with the story of Nate Starbuck as he serves under General Robert E. Lee himself, culminating in the famous, bloody Battle of Antietam. "The best thing to hit Civil War fiction."--The Washington Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The present volume is the fourth in Corwell's historical fiction series, "The Starbuck Chronicles." Set against the background of one of the Civil War's bloodiest battles, the novel describes the adventures of hero and military commander Nate Starbuck. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061833762
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/17/2009
  • Series: Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles Series , #4
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 81,869
  • File size: 517 KB

Meet the Author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers 1356 and Agincourt; the bestselling Saxon Tales, which include The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, and most recently Death of Kings; and the Richard Sharpe novels, among many others. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Read an Excerpt

The Bloody Ground
Starbuck Chronicles Volume Four, The

Chapter One

It rained. It had rained all day. At first it had been a quick, warm rain gusted by fitful southern winds, but in the late afternoon the wind had turned east and the rain became malevolent. It pelted down; a stinging, slashing, heavy rain fit to float an ark. It drummed on the armies' inadequate tents; it flooded the abandoned Yankee earthworks at Centreville; and it washed the shallow dirt off the grave mounds beside the Bull Run so that an army of fish-white corpses, scarcely a day or two buried, surfaced like the dead on Judgment Day. The Virginia dirt was red, and the water that poured in ever-widening muddy streams toward the Chesapeake Bay took on the color of the soil so that it seemed as if the whole tidewater was being drenched in blood. It was the first day of September 1862. The sun would not set on Washington till thirty-four minutes after six, yet by half past three the gas mantles had been lit in the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue was a foot deep in mud, and the open sewers of Swampoodle were overflowing. In the Capitol the rain slashed through the beams and scaffolding of the half-finished dome to pour onto the newly arrived wounded from the North's defeat at Manassas, who lay in misery on the rotunda's marble floor.

Twenty miles west of Washington more fugitives from John Pope's beaten army trudged toward the safety of the capital. Rebels tried to bar their road, but rain turned the confrontation into confusion. Infantrymen huddled for shelter under soaking trees, artillerymen cursed their rain-soaked powder charges, cavalrymen tried to calm horses terrified by the boltsof lightning that raked from the heavy clouds. Major Nathaniel Starbuck, commander of the Faulconer Legion of Swynyard's Brigade of Jackson's Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, was trying to keep a cartridge dry as he poured its powder into his rifle. He tried to protect the cartridge with his hat, but the hat was drenched and the powder that he shook from the wax paper was suspiciously lumpy. He shoved the crumpled paper onto the powder, spat the bullet into the rifle's muzzle, then rammed the charge hard down. He pulled back the hammer, fished a percussion cap from the box at his belt and fitted it onto the rifle's cone, then took aim through the silver sheeting of the rain. His regiment was at the edge of a dripping wood, facing north across a rain-beaten cornfield toward another stand of trees where the Yankees sheltered. There was no target in Starbuck's sights, but he pulled the trigger anyway. The hammer thumped onto the percussion cap that exploded to puff its little wisp of smoke, but the powder in the rifle's breech obstinately refused to catch the fire. Starbuck swore. He eased back the hammer, prised the shattered percussion cap off the cone, and put another in its place. He tried again, but still the rifle would not fire. "Might as well throw rocks at the bastards," he said to no one in particular. A rifle fired from the far trees, but the bullet's passage through the leaves over Starbuck's head was drowned by the thrashing rain. Starbuck crouched with his useless rifle and wondered what the hell he was supposed to do now.

What he was supposed to do now was cross the cornfield and drive the Yankees out of the farther trees, but the Yankees had at least one regiment and a pair of field guns in that far wood and Starbuck's combat-shrunken regiment had already been bloodied by those two guns. At first, as the Legion had waded into the tangle of rain-drenched cornstalks, Starbuck had thought the guns' noise was merely thunder; then he had seen that his left-hand companies were being shredded and broken and he had noticed the Yankee gunners handspiking their weapons about to take the rest of the Legion in the flank. He had ordered his men to fire on the guns, but only a handful of rifles had powder dry enough to fire, and so he had yelled at the survivors to go back before the artillery fired again and then he had listened to the northerners jeering at his defeated men. Now, twenty minutes later, he was still trying to find a way across or around the cornfield, but the ground to the left was an open space commanded by the enemy guns while the woods to the right were filled with still more Yankees.

The Legion plainly did not care if the Yankees stayed or went, for rain was their enemy now, not the North. Starbuck, as he walked toward the left-hand end of his line, noticed how the men took care not to catch his eye. They were praying he would not order another attack, for none of them wanted to stir out of the trees and go back into the waterlogged corn. All they wanted was for the rain to stop and for a chance to make fires and a time to sleep. Above all to sleep. In the last month they had marched the length and breadth of Virginia's northern counties; they had fought; they had beaten the enemy; they had marched and fought again; and now they were weary with marching and fighting. Their uniforms were rags, their boots were in tatters, their rations were mouldy, and they were bone tired, and so far as Starbuck's men were concerned the Yankees could keep the rain-soaked wood beyond the cornfield. They just wanted to rest. Some of them were sleeping now, despite the rain. They lay like the dead at the wood's edge, their mouths open to the rain, and their beards and moustaches lank and dripping. Other men, truly dead, lay as though asleep in the bloodied corn . . .

The Bloody Ground
Starbuck Chronicles Volume Four, The
. Copyright © by Bernard Cornwell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Cornwell Hit!

    America's bloodiest day, Cornwell style. My only complaint is that I am still waiting for book #5 of the series. While we wait, read Suhrer's "The Flying Dutchmen," a self-published novel about the German 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry that is becoming an underground hit with the reenacting community and general reading public down here in Florida.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    Been waiting for years for the next Starbuck Issue....

    I have enjoyed Conwells books for years... He is responsible for me to become a Civil War Bufff... I would like hime to finish the series or at least add to it... like the Sharpe series... I want to see what happens to Starbuck and the others....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    Excellent Reading

    I have had the priviledge of reading all four volumes of the Starbuck Chronicles and enjoyed all four greatly. I just wish Mr. Cornwell would write the next voulme, it's long overdue. Been waiting on it eagerly every since the last volume was published.I hope he decides to write it soon, I would like to get a copy as soon as it hits the shelves.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2004

    Hoping for a Volume 5 !!!

    I missed the first two books, but am going to go back and read them. Each can stand alone, but the series is great. Cornwell writes vivid descriptions of all events. It is much like reading a movie, as you can clearly see what is going on while reading. The reader gets to know the characters quickly. An enjoyable way to learn about the civil war because even though it is fiction, it is based on facts. I'm searching to find out if there is a next volume yet!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2001

    One of the best books ever written

    This book takes you behind the lines and into the minds of people who begin to feel like your closest friend. If you like this time period or even if you don't this book will make you believe you are standing in line with heros who helped to either win or lose the war. This book comes at you from many different perspectives and you will enjoy all of them. A MUST READ!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Excellent, but...

    ...the actual ebook needs editing. There are many typos and errors, and even two "Part One" headings that I'm sure aren't the author's fault. Otherwise, another awesome Starbuck book.

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    If you like Civil War history, read this!!

    Cornwell tells a rather shocking and gripping story of the Antietam/Sharpsburg battle. It is good history made even more interesting via the fictional story of the Starbuck character.

    All Cornwell's writings are interesting along with being easy reading. They grab and hold your attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2009

    Outstanding Civil War Novel Series

    This series is every bit as good as his Sharpe series. I just wish it continued to the end of the Civil War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2000

    INCREDBILE SERIES

    Best set of books I've ever read. Cornwell really outdid himself w/ this series. I've read every book on Richard Sharpe (Napoleonic Wars) , Derfel Cadarn (King Arthur Series) , and quite a few others written by Cornwell and this book and series surpasses them all. HIGHLY RECOMENDED TO EVERYONE! KEEP WRITING BERNARD. YOU DA MAN!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    It's an excellent read.

    I find this book,'The Bloody Ground' a very excellent read. I think all of the 'Starbuck' book's are excellent read's. I would recomend this and all the 'Starbuck' title's to any one who enjoy's good solid reading about The War Between The States. As a Civil War history buff, I belive the storyline's of the 'Starbuck' book's to be the nearest thing to bringing out the reality's of that war as we of this day and age are able to write without actually having been in the war.I look forward to seeing Mr.Cornwell's next book about Nathenal Starbuck.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2000

    Sharpsburg, Maryland

    Bernard Cornwell really has done a fantastic job researching the civil war as well as adding plots and characters to the book. The rivalries between Faulconer and Starbuck is thrilling and the traitors that are revealed make one scream for the truth to be revealed and for the traitors to be caught. Well written especially of the slaughter that occurs, depicting the carnage of what happened at the real battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland, on september 17 1862. Overall, an entire 5 star on the series.

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    Posted July 5, 2011

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