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Showing posts from May, 2017

Storm Coming - A novel of the Civil War in western Virginia

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Breaking from my normal technical writing, I decided two years ago to write a history about the exploits of Alexander J. Swaney, one of my two paternal great-grandfathers, who fought in the Union cavalry during the American Civil War. His military records stored at the National Archives indicated he had been an orderly for General Buford from August 1862 until Buford died in December 1863. After Buford's death he became an orderly for General Wesley Merritt, who took over command of Buford's division after his death.

From the start I had many questions that needed answers. Swaney was born in southwestern Pennsylvania on a farm near the small village of Smithfield in Fayette County. Smithfield was only about six miles away from Morgantown, Virginia and a couple of miles from where I was born. His military records indicated he joined the First Virginia Cavalry regiment in September in Morgntown. The only First Virginia Cavalry I knew of at the time was formed in Winchester, Vir…