On a crisp fall day in October of 1862, a precocious seventeen-year-old boy went into a bookshop in his hometown of Hagerstown, Maryland, and purchased a composition book.
Into his new diary, John R. King would steadfastly record what he did, saw and heard daily, as the Civil War raged around him. During May of 1862, after learning the photography trade, John took portraits of Union soldiers stationed in the Shenandoah Valley.
Then, on May 23, 1862, when he heard the sounds of battle, he attempted to flee on a wagon. He was soon captured by Stonewall Jackson's troops. His treasured diary was taken.
Force marched to a Confederate prison, John vowed revenge. Two weeks after escaping from captivity, John joined the Union Army. He fought with fury, courage and valor, was wounded three times and became a war hero. Later, John was not only appointed by two presidents to prestigious positions in the Pension Bureau, but he also became leader of the Grand Army of the Republic.
After being lost for 150 years, his diary was recently discovered and is now being published.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Donald B. Jenkins was born and raised in Northern Virginia. As a boy, he developed an interest in the Civil War and later joined a county historical society. He holds a B.A. degree from UVa and a M.A. from George Mason University. He served thirty-two years in various public service positions with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Concurrently, as a hobby, he began collecting, researching and occasionally selling Civil War items, nineteenth-century American pottery and antique country furniture. In 2008, he retired from public service and began writing his book. Donald resides in Falls Church, Virginia, with his wife.