In the vein of HBO’s Rome
miniseries: it’s often the
people history doesn’t note
that make history.
Why I Wrote These Books
• As a plebe at West Point I had to memorize a considerable amount
of lore and legend about the Academy and its role in history.
• One fact struck me as odd, intriguing, and ultimately very disturbing:
• In the 60 major battles of the Civl War, West Pointers commanded
both sides in 55 of them, and one side in the other 5.
Our story starts in 1840, in Benny Havens
tavern, just beyond post limits of the
United States Military Academy. With
William Tecumseh Sherman, Rumble,
Cord, and Benny Havens’ daughter come
together in a crucible of honor and loyalty.
On post, in the West Point stables,
Ulysses S. Grant and a classmate are
preparing to saddle the Hell-Beast, a
horse with which Grant would eventually
set an academy record.
We follow these men forward to the eve of
the Mexican War, tracing their steps at
West Point and ranging to a plantation at
Natchez on the Mississippi, Major Lee at
Arlington; and Charleston, SC. We travel
aboard the USS Somers and the US Navy
mutiny that led to the founding of the
Naval Academy at Annapolis.
Benny Havens Tavern
Our story in Book I (DUTY) starts in May 1840, at Benny Havens Tavern,
infamous as a cadet rendezvous just off post of West Point.
William Tecumseh Sherman, with Cadets Cord and King, are toasting
Ulysses S. Grant
Racing for help, Sherman finds Grant at the riding hall along with
Cadets Rumble and Longstreet.
Grant was a horse whisperer, renowned in the Corps for his
ability with the beasts.
Ulysses S. GrantThis is the earliest photo of Grant, taken after his graduation in 1843.
He joins Sherman and they gallop down to Benny Havens to stop the
duel, along with his friend Cadet Rumble. In the confrontation along
the Hudson River, Rumble takes responsibility for Lidia’s condition
and thus history is made and the fates of all involved are intertwined
Rumble must resign from the Corps.
The Vigilance Committee pays Mister Cord a visit,
but he refuses to resign, despite his dishonor.
And At Sea, The Event that
led to the U.S. Naval
AcademyA mutiny aboard the USS Somers leads to the
founding a shore-based school for midshipmen; the
US Naval Academy.
The image below is of the mutineers hanging
under the US Flag.
The Looming War
Grant is married, with Longstreet as his best man. But war with
Mexico looms. Long afterward, Grant would say: "I was bitterly
opposed to the measure, and to this day, regard the war, which
resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger
against a weaker nation."
We start with the battle at Palo Alto at the beginning of the Mexican
War, percentage-wise, the bloodiest war in U.S. History. While
Grant and Rumble battle across Mexico, Cord is with Fremont and
Kit Carson in the far west, fighting to bring California into the
We end on the eve of the Civil War, with each man taking his place
on one side or the other, as West Point classmates prepare to face
each other in battle.
The Mexican War
Grant believed the Mexican War to be wicked and wrong. But he fought,
along with many other West Pointers, setting the stage for the Civil War.
We meet Grant, Lee, Longstreet, Pickett and many other key figures as
they battle across Mexico to the final victory in the Halls of Montezuma.
The Mexican War
While Rumble is with Grant in Mexico, Cord is with
Fremont’s 1845-1846 Western Expedition.
He joins Kit Carson and Fremont as they battle for
The Mexican War
A dashing, young George Pickett, leads the successful assault on the
fortress of Chapultepec, grabbing the colors from a wounded James
Longstreet, and raising the American Flag over the Mexican Military
As the colors go up, members of the Irish Brigade who defected to the
Mexican side over their religious beliefs, are hanged at the signal.
The Mexican WarRobert E. Lee, a young major of the Engineers, distinguishes
himself in battle, scouting the way for the invading American
The Mexican War, percentage wise, had the highest casualty
rate of any American War to date.
Book I (DUTY) Ends here.
Between The Wars
Book II (HONOR) takes our characters from the end of the
Mexican War to the start of the Civil War.
The man who would become the first four star General of the
Army resigns his commission on the day he is promoted to
Captain. Some suspect he was drunk on duty.
He tries to make a go of civilian life, but fails miserably.
Still, he frees the only slave his wife inherited from her family,
despite his own poverty.
Between The Wars
Our characters’ personal lives go through great upheaval between the
Mexican and Civil War, but all comes to a head when John Brown is
Rumble is there along with Robert E. Lee, JEB Stuart, Thomas Jackson
(not yet Stonewall) and even John Wilkes Booth was in the audience.
The Civil War
Book III (COUNTRY) takes our characters from the Start of the Civil
War up until the crucial battle of Shiloh, where the war changed.
Former Cadet King has chosen to fight for his native South Carolina and
goads General Simon Bolivar Buckner into firing the first shots of the
war at Fort Sumter.
First Bull Run
At First Bull Run, Rumble (designated by Lincoln to be his eyes and
ears in the Army) meets a dashing young George Armstrong Custer,
freshly graduated from West Point, albeit last in his class.
The map below is part of a set I had for my military tactics classes at
In The West
Grant is unable to get accepted back in the Army. He finally gets a
commission in the militia and fights in the west, along the rivers.
At Rumble’s suggestion, Abraham Lincoln vaults Grant to general.
In The West
Grant wins great victories at Forts Henry and Donelson
just west of present day Fort Campbell.
Lincoln gives Grant command in the west.
Shiloh means place of peace.
This is a reconstruction of the original church from
which the bloody battle gained its name.
5 April 1862
To The Soldiers of the Army of the Mississippi:
I have put into motion to offer battle to the invaders of your country. With
the resolution and discipline and valor becoming men fighting, as you are,
for all worth living or dying for, you can but march to decisive victory over
the agrarian mercenaries sent to subjugate and despoil you of your liberties,
property and honor. Remember the dependence of your mothers, your wives,
your sisters, and your children on the result; remember the fair, broad,
abounding land, the happy homes and the ties that would be desolated by
your defeat. The eyes and hopes of eight millions of people rest upon you;
you are expected to show yourselves worthy of your lineage, worthy of the
women of the South, whose noble devotion in this war has never been
exceeded in any time. With such incentives to brave deeds, and with the trust
that God is with us, your generals will lead you confidently to the combat—
assured of success.
C.S.A. General Sidney Albert Johnston
(West Point class of 1826)
All our characters are coming together for the great battle that
will change the course of the war. Grant. Sherman. Cord.
Rumble. And young Ben Rumble, son of Cord, stepson of
Our third book ends at the close of
the first day.
General Grant is sitting under an
oak tree, in pouring rain,
despondent over his battered army.
Rumble and Cord and Ben are
nearby in their own crisis.
• Sherman comes to Grant,
sitting under the tree,
perhaps to urge him to
• Sherman: “Well, Grant,
we’ve had the Devil’s own
day, haven’t we?”
• Grant: “Yep. Lick ‘em
• More Americans died in 2
days at Shiloh, than in all
previous wars combined.
What is more important... Honor or Loyalty?
New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former
Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus.
He’s had over 75 books published, including the #1 bestselling series
Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the
Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his
wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE