The Civil War is rarely shown through a young southern woman’s perspective. Many of these women were displaced from their homes and lived their lives on the run from Northern shellfire. They witnessed war firsthand without ever going to battle. Sarah Morgan was one of those women. She was only 20 years old when the North took over her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but she wrote about her experiences in her diaries with insight and clarity well beyond her years.
In this young adult novel, Debra West Smith uses Sarah Morgan’s diaries to tell this generation her story of courage and survival during the war that divided the nation. Sarah was forced to move from place to place and suffered a debilitating injury during her experience, but she persevered through it all. She faced issues that many people never consider when thinking about the Civil War. There was a dilemma over what to do with her pet bird as the Yankees approached, and the decision about accepting much-needed food from Yankee soldiers at the risk of being branded a traitor by the Southerners. Sarah Morgan poured her heart and soul into her diaries as a way to cope with her situations, and Smith uses many of Sarah’s own words to bring this story alive for today’s young adults.