Too Afraid to Cry:
Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign
Historians identify the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), which unfolded on September 17, 1862, as “the bloodiest day in American History.” By best counts, more than 23,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing by nightfall. And left in the smoldering aftermath were the children, women, and men who made their homes in the village of Sharpsburg and on surrounding farms.
The soldiers who participated in the 1862 campaign did so because they had chosen to march to war. The Maryland inhabitants who met them had not made that choice. Some rose to the challenge and demonstrated remarkable courage; others exhibited extraordinary foolishness or greed. Whatever their experiences may have been, their stories—told for the first time in Too Afraid to Cry—are no less important that those of the soldiers who marched through their cornfields, and are essential to a full understanding of the Civil War.
This book contains numerous period photos and illustrations, detailed author's preface, and extensive footnotes, bibliography, and index. Originally released as a hardcover, it is now available as a 320-page softcover book.
Praise For Lies Of Omission“This well-researched and compellingly told tale is a must-read for any fan of nineteenth-century American historical fiction and historical mystery devotees of any era.” Edith Maxwell Agatha Award Winning author Quaker Midwife Mysteries "Lies are the only thing omitted in Lies of Omission, the first book of Kathleen Ernst’s new mystery series featuring Hanneke Bauer. Set in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1855, the rich descriptive details give a glimpse into the Pomeranian immigrants’ home life and farming practices, as well as social issues of the time. As usual for Ernst’s books, the well developed characters make the reader feel like you would recognize them if you met them on the street. Don’t begin the book unless you have time to continue, because it will be hard to put down." Terry Schoessow Co-President Trinity Freistadt Historical Society "Lies of Omission was a wonderful read – the story is riveting and from a personal perspective, it was a wonderful trip back in time in Watertown. From Ms. Ernst’s vivid descriptions of early settlements in Watertown, to her focus on the Rock River, to the incorporation of historical businesses that once existed in this city, the pages of this book came alive to me." Melissa Lampe President Watertown Historical Society
PeopleIn the 19th century, German-speakers were the largest ethnic group to immigrate to the United States and to the state of Wisconsin. The first large wave of settlers arrived between 1846 and 1854. Upon arriving in Wisconsin in 1855, Hanneke finds a well-established and thriving German community in Watertown. Only recently married, she is relieved to have left behind the company of relatives who criticized her for “thinking too much.” Joining her forward-thinking new husband at his farm will, she believes, improve life immeasurably. In the 19th century, it was not unusual for even newly-wed couples like Hanneke and Fridolin to separate for months or even years to accomplish the daunting task of immigrating to far off America. As a capable and intelligent woman willing to confront obstacles, Hanneke is a reflection of determination of countless women to build a new life in a new land.
PlacesMany scenes in Lies of Omission are set in real places, like Watertown, Wisconsin. This is is a 1867 birds eye view map of it.
The PastLies of Omission takes place during the height of the Nativist movement in Wisconsin. Its members were mostly well-established native-born Protestants who did not welcome the growing population of German Catholic immigrants. Originally organized in secret as the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, adherents often denied their involvement with the group by claiming to “know nothing” of it. The patriotic period print below is entitled Uncle Sam's Youngest Son and depicts a prosperous Know Nothing Citizen. The Know Nothings were populists—well known for giving fiery speeches and holding torchlit parades that sometimes whipped their supporters into violence. The movement's political wing was founded in 1844 and briefly became a national political force as the American Party in the mid-1850s. Electoral failures and divisions over slavery caused the party to dissolve in 1860. Many Know Nothings in the northern states then switched over to the new Republican Party.
And MoreThe Wisconsin State Journal published an interview about Lies Of Omission with me in its Author Q&A column. You can read it by clicking here. And thanks to the magic of digital media, you can eavesdrop on me discussing Lies Of Omission (and other books) with Larry Meiller and his listeners on his popular midday Wisconsin Public Radio show. A recording of the program has been posted online for you to listen to over the internet or download a copy as a podcast.
Discussion GuideThis is the discussion guide for Lies of Omission. Click Here
Sneak Peek: Chapter 1This is a sneak peek at the book: Lies of Omission Read Chapter 1
Related Blog Posts
Ballads of Antietam
Wherever I am on September 17, I pause to remember the horrific battle that raged in and around Sharpsburg, Maryland, on this day in 1862. Last year I was fortunate enough to spend the 150th anniversary weekend at Antietam National Battlefield and nearby Harpers Ferry. Several of the guest speakers mentioned that their initial interest in the Civil War was sparked during the war’s Centennial commemorations, 1961-1964. Many of my reenactor friends also began their life-long hobby during that time.
The Children of Antietam
Like most any writer of history, I love the research process. Nothing is more satisfying than unearthing some previously unknown treasure. Most exciting of all are primary documents—diaries letters, reminiscences, or articles left by people who experienced the events I’m studying.
A powerful and poignant tribute to Civil War soldiers takes place each December on the rolling hills near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination honors those men who fell during the battle of Antietam in 1862. As many as 1,400 volunteers prepare a candle for each man who fell during the Battle of Antietam in 1862, and arrange them over the field.