Look at Civil War through Girl's Eyes

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 15, 2005 | Go to article overview

Look at Civil War through Girl's Eyes


Byline: Cecelia Osowski, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

By Cecelia Osowski, age 15 , Home-schooled / Loudoun Valley High School, Purcellville, Va.

The Civil War, begun in spring 1861, came in July of that year to Manassas and the stream called Bull Run in Virginia, to the property of Will McLean. Soon after, he moved his family - three daughters, a son, and a wife - to the small town of Appomattox. In an ironic twist of fate, the Civil War ended with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee signing the surrender in McLean's parlor at Appomattox.

"In My Fathers' House" tells the fictionalized story of McLean's stepdaughter, Oscie Mason, and how she got from one end of the war to the other.

The book opens on Christmas 1852, and we meet 7-year-old Oscie. Shortly after, she meets Will McLean, who has begun to court Oscie's widowed mother. The development of the father-daughter relationship between Oscie and Will lasts through the whole book, as the two stubborn persons try to find where they stand with each other.

A true Southern girl, Oscie holds a dim view of Yankees and slaves alike. As she grows up and the Civil War forces the old Southern customs to be put aside, Oscie learns that people are people, no matter what their color or where they're from.

From Button, her Yankee tutor, she gets not only a scholastic education, but an ability to think and talk intelligently. When Will leaves home to support the family with his merchant's business during the war, Oscie is in charge of the household. …

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