A Civil War Story of Slavery and Rescue

University of Nebraska Press

ISBN 978-0-8032-4644-7

Cover of Incident at the Otterville Station by John Christgau

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Christgau has a knack for finding riveting slivers of history hidden in complex events. He pumps fresh blood into long-forgotten characters and does it with crisp, simple writing. ... His new Civil War book, "Incident at Otterville Station," does it again, capturing a dramatic, overlooked morality play involving a bunch of Ninth Minnesota Regiment soldiers stuck guarding a bridge in Missouri.-Curt Brown, Star Tribune

While elated Northerners were celebrating victory at Gettysburg and toasting Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator, Missourian Charles W. Walker was rousing his thirteen slaves in the dark of night. In defiance of a standing Union order prohibiting the transfer of slaves among states, he intended to ship his slaves by train to Kentucky, where they would be sold at auction. What ensued was one of the most gripping-and until now, mostly forgotten-events of the Civil War.