10:03 PM EDT, August 18, 2012
Name: CW Whitehair
City in which you reside: Charles Town, W.Va.
Day job: author/writer
Book title: "Libby Life"
Genre: U.S. history
Quick synopsis of book: Lt. Col. Federico Fernandez Cavada's was the highest ranking Hispanic officer to fight for the Union army during the Civil War. The book follows his day-to-day experiences and hardships at Libby Prison.
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
What was the inspiration for this book?
I wanted to reach out to the Hispanic community and allow them the opportunity to follow someone who made a contribution to the Union army's effort during America's Civil War.
How did you come to find Cavada's diary?
The diary was originally published in 1864. Several years ago, a nurse, who I worked with in Frederick, Md., had a first-print edition of the book. It was given to her by her grandfather. She gave it to me to read. At that time, I decided to republish the diary, knowing that it would be considered sacred by the Civil War community. I added an introduction on Cavada's background, a chapter on the second day's fighting at Gettysburg, Pa., where Lt. Col. Cavada was captured, and a chapter on Libby Prison. Historical references are included.
What surprised you when you read his diary?
Lt. Col. Cavada did not write a gloomy diary. Instead, he included some prison experiences that I found humerous and made my wife, Rhonda-Lee, and I laugh while reading the diary.
Is there a particular story you enjoyed the most?
I enjoy Cavada's "Indroductory." It covers the march from Gettysburg, the fighting at Williamsport, and his experiences of being marched down the Shenandoah Valley to Richmond, Va., and Libby Prison.
Another chapter I liked is titled "Shadows." In this particular chapter, there is a Hungarian Union officer by the name of Hans, who had purchased six fresh eggs from a lady during the Battle of Gettysburg. When Hans visited her home on July 2, it was near the Union army's picket line. Hans had to take care of some duties, and when he returned, the lady's home and his six fresh eggs were behind Confederate lines. His comrades at Libby Prison joked with Hans about the fact that Gen. Lee was now enjoying them.
What challenges did you find when taking on this project?
Where to incorporate his sketches. Cavada was a very proficient sketch artist. The 18 sketches had to be in the right place in the book so that the reader would have a visual understanding of what he was talking about.
Did you learn anything about yourself while writing this book?
To make the best out of a bad situation. It will pass and things will get better.
Are you working on another writing project?
Yes. I am now seven chapters from completing "Mosby: The War Years." The book is United States history genre. Col. John Mosby, who was known as the "Gray Ghost," tells his own story in first person.
Is your book available in the Tri-State area?
It can be purchased by sending me an email via www.whitehairbooks.com. It is also avaliable at www.amazon.com.
— By Crystal Schelle, Lifestyle editor
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