Cover image for The bushwhacker : a civil war adventure
The bushwhacker : a civil war adventure
Garrity, Jennifer Johnson.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Atlanta : Peachtree, 1999.
Physical Description:
196 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
While the Civil War rages in Missouri and Rebels destroy their farm home and scatter their family, thirteen-year-old Jacob and his younger sister find refuge in an unlikely place.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 9.0 32241.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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"A black, smoking shell stood where our house had been. The barn that'd been near to twice as big as the house was nothing but a head of ashes too. 'Pa!' My voice cracked and floated up into the early morning sky. Eliza crept up behind me and slipped her hand into mine. 'They're dead, ain't they, Jacob?'"

DURING THE CIVIL War, fourteen-year-old Jacob Knight returns from the cornfield one day to find bushwhackers--Confederate sympathizers in the Union state of Missouri--terrorizing his family. At the insistence of his mother, Jacob and his seven-year-old sister, Eliza, flee the house for safety. When the two young people dare to return home the following morning, their family is nowhere to be found and their home is burnt to the ground. Hoping that the rest of their family survived, Jacob and Eliza take the family's one remaining horse and journey north, toward their aunt's home in Iowa in hopes of finding their family along the way.

After traveling for several days, the children are befriended and given shelter by a kind young mother, Maggie, who was left by her husband, a bushwhacker. The children stay with Maggie throughout the winter, helping her with the farm chores, and with her infant son. The new "family" is growing comfortable with each other until a ragged stranger enters their lives. Who is this man? What will he do to Jacob and Eliza? Will the children ever find out if their family survived?

Author Notes

JENNIFER JOHNSON GARRITY's interest in Missouri's difficult position during the Civil War began as a result of conducting extensive research into her family history. The Bushwhacker is her first published work. Born in Seattle, Washington, she currently calls Germany home. She has lived with her family in Europe on and off for nearly 13 years.

PAUL BACHEM has worked for many years as an award-winning freelance illustrator, producing work for most of the major book and magazine publishers. He has illustrated Anna's Blizzard, The Wreck of the Ethie, and The Bushwhacker.

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-This gripping, fast-paced story is a masterful re-creation of a time of divided loyalties and conflict. In 1861 in Missouri, 13-year-old Jacob Knight and his sister Eliza, 8, flee through the cornfields and into the woods when a party of bushwhacking Secesh sympathizers attack their family farm. When they return home, they find the buildings in ashes, the livestock gone, and no trace of their parents or younger sisters. They head for Iowa and relatives until hunger and illness force Jacob to stop traveling and seek help. Maggie Canaday, who is living on a farm with her infant son, takes in the two children. Her husband has joined the Secessionists after being falsely accused of treachery and arrested by Yankee soldiers. Jacob harbors a burning hatred for all those who have destroyed Union farms and agrees to inform the Unionists should Clem return to his farm. His return is the catalyst that compels Jacob to confront both his own desire for revenge and the violence that has raged through "this whole sorry mess called Missouri." Garrity skillfully weaves folklore and song into the narrative and captures the flavor of homespun speech. Jacob's struggle with his own emotions and his ultimate realization that violence begets more violence is both realistic and believable and one that readers will have no difficulty understanding. The illustrations, unfortunately, are unattractive and add little to this vivid and powerful story.-Patricia B. McGee, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.