Title: With Every Drop of Blood
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Date Published: 1994
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Set during the Civil War in Virginia. Some locations included are the Shenandoah Valley, Petersberg and Appomattox. One of the characters tells stories of Washington D.C.
Johnny, a 14-year-old boy in Virginia during the Civil War, goes with a group to transport supplies to the Confederate army in Richmond. Along the way, he is captured by a black Union soldier named Cush. Cush takes Johnny as his prisoner. As they head toward the prison camp, they get to know each other and Johnny realizes that Cush isn’t all that different than he is, even though he’s black.
The story is told from Johnny’s point of view, written in the first person. He’s a young boy and doesn’t have much education by today’s standards. Because of this, most of the writing is very conversational as we see the world through his eyes.
Much of the writing uses some jargon from that time period. “Nigger” is used to refer to black people and cursing takes place. However, the authors do not write completely as people would have spoken at that time because it would be confusing to modern readers.
Johnny - The book's protagonist and narrator. We see everything from his point of view, as the book is written in Johnny’s first person. A 14-year-old boy, he’s grown up in the South his entire life and supports the confederacy. He’s bright and well-educated for his time and income level. He works hard on the farm while his father is gone.
Cush Turner - A former slave, Cush is a boy who is a confederate soldier. He’s black and respects Abraham Lincoln more than any other figure. He’s inquisitive and wants to learn to read so he can better his life after the war.
Pa - Johnny’s father. He was injured in the war and tries to teach Johnny as much as he can before he dies.
Ma - Johnny’s mother. She takes care of the house and the family while Johnny’s father is off at war.
Sam and Sarah - Johnny’s little sisters. Both are too young to do any real work.
Captain Bartlett - A Union officer who allows Johnny to stay with his mules but then catches him in a Union uniform.
Jeb Wagner - A teamster from another town who Johnny gets along with. Jeb convinces Johnny to join the wagon train to Richmond and is later injured when the train is attacked.
Wilmer McLean - A man in Appomattox who gives Johnny breakfast. The peace treaty is signed at his house. (A real person)
Bridget, Regis and Molly - Johnny’s mules.