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Civil War Road Map

Civil War road map: UT grad publishes second book on conflict, examines relative's role

By Fred Brown

Ron Jones, who became heavily involved in genealogy after investigating his ancestors' participation in the Civil War, has written his second book on the conflict. It is a study of how all segments of Southern society were affected by the war's impact.

"The Road to Rock Island: A Confederate Soldier's Story" is intended by the author to mix fact with fiction to tell what is a fascinating story of his ancestors and the communities from which they marched off to war. This second book actually began with the first, "War Comes to Broad River," published three years ago.

Both books follow his ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in Georgia units, Isaac with the Army of Tennessee, and William Moore with the Army of Northern Virginia.

Jones, 66, a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a retired financial analyst for the Boeing Co., became caught up in family genealogy after retiring.

In running down family genealogical records, a distant relative sent him the transcription of a Civil War diary of Confederate soldier Isaac Vaughn Moore of Georgia, a brother of Jones's great-great-grandfather.

The whereabouts of the diary is still unknown, but using that transcription, Jones, commander of the local camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an active participant in living-history events, appeared before Civil War groups and used it for his first-person presentation. Then it struck him that the diary would make an excellent backdrop for a book - and, now a second one.

Tate Publishing LLC of Mustang, Okla., which produced his first novel, publishes the second. Tate mainly publishes works related to the Christian faith.

William M. Moore, Jones's great-great-grandfather, was a prisoner of war at Rock Island in 1865. The book tells his account of his capture near Dandridge in the 1863-64 winter after the Battle of Fort Sanders had failed for the Confederates under Maj. Gen. James Longstreet.

Jones says in both books he took some liberties in dialogue between characters, but relied on the diary and letters to base the actual events.

Just as the first book, which came with a complete roster of Isaac Moore's company, and family histories of the six families in the novel, this second novel also has letters of Rock Island POWs, a roster of the "Goshen Blues" and genealogy of his ancestors.

Jones said this kind of research is to show how the war impacted entire families, neighbors and communities.

"The diary was a road map for the book," he says. "It helped me pick up things about my great-great-grandfather and that made me confident I could bring him into the story with historical accuracy from the prison part."

In the second book, his ancestor is a forager and works for the commissary. He places him at historically accurate battles in which the 38th Georgia Infantry took part.

He also gives accurate accounts of the Goshen Blues casualties in the various battles at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg and others.

Jones says he is thinking of writing a similar fictional account of Valley Forge, where he had an ancestor who was a quartermaster.

"I've gotten to be a pretty good genealogist. Before this (the books), I wasn't, and now I do it professionally."

Retired senior writer Fred Brown may be reached at brownf08@gmail.com.

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