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September 2006

September 9 * Book Vendor- Vincennes Civil War Days, Vincennes, IN

When I first contacted Junior Fischer about attending the Civil War Days event in Vincennes I thought it would be a natural. The audience was built in, Vincennes is less than an hour from my home, and there were going to be other Civil War sutlers or vendors present. There was one little catch, I had to appear in appropriate 19th century clothing. There were two problems with this: 1) I had never appeared in 19th century drawers before and didn't know if I wanted to, and 2) I didn't have any period appropriate clothing and wasn't going to buy any just for this one event to sell books and donate the money to charity. So, at first I thought I wasn't going. However, the Civil War Days committee wasn't done with me yet. They said I could come if I wore 19th century clothing and then promptly gave me a set of clothing for the event. How could I refuse after all the Civil War Days committee had done for me? I'm sure glad I went as the event was huge success.
          Jon Andrews is my guardian angel in Vincennes. I think we first met at Loogootee, Indiana, several years ago at an 80th Indiana event. We've kept in contact ever since. When it came time for me to come to Vincennes for Civil War Days Jon literally opened doors for me in town. I don't mind telling you that my emotions were all over the place as I drove to Vincennes in my outfit- uncertain about my physical appearance, uncertain about the event, uncertain that I would sell any books. Jon made everything all right. He met me at the event gate, got me set up, introduced me around, got me lunch and dinner, and helped arranged for a special tour at the George Rogers Clark monument. He was my personal guide and I can't thank him enough.
          It was a beautiful day. This is the second annual such event and by all accounts there were twice as many folks participating and attending as there were last year. Vincennes is known for its big Revolutionary War event called "The Rendezvous" in May every year. I'm certain the Civil War event will be built to match the Revolutionary War event.

Vincennes CWdays
Yours truly at Civil War Days in Vincennes, Indiana
(notice the 19th-century garb)

          This was the first event where I was selling the Star Edition of Thunder from a Clear Sky, so I was secretly nervous that there was something about the book that people wouldn't like (after my endless obsession to make it as perfect as I knew how). As usual, all the worry was for nothing. I sold a substantial pile of books including a nice count of hardcover books. The action was steady all day as I sold my last book as I was packing up. After the event wound down at about 4:30 PM Jon walked me over to the Clark monument. If you've never seen it, you need to. It reminded me of the great European monuments with floor-to-ceiling murals, audio tour, and a huge bronze of George Rogers Clark. I was then treated to dinner with the re-enactors and called it quits for the day. I am so glad things worked out for me to come to Vincennes for the event. The profits from Civil War Days are being combined with those of my August 21 speech at the McGrady-Brockman House and will be donated to the Knox County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument restoration fund. Just another one of those once-in-a-lifetime events, I guess.

September 29 * A feature newspaper article in the Madisonville Messenger titled "When Cannons Roared" discusses the Battle of Browning Springs in Madisonville, Adam Johnson's Partisan Rangers, Thunder From a Clear Sky, and yours truly. I was one of the sources for the article as Don Perryman interviewed me by phone for 30 minutes a week earlier. It is a very nicely done piece. Don used the same imagery to invoke the Browning Springs battle that appears in Thunder.