Into Enemy Arms by Rex Burns

Into Enemy Arms by Rex Burns

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Young, but newly widowed, Lydia Sensabaugh struggles to make a living on her farm. Her husband had attempted to revitalize the worn-out soil with new chemicals. But he died of swamp fever before his experiment could be proven. Now, in 1861, the farm’s quiet isolation is invaded—first by mysterious lights and nighttime trespassers then by rumors of secession and war. When the Union Army occupies the Delmarva Peninsula, Lydia finds herself drawn into the conflict between Rebel and Loyalist neighbors. Adding to the social complexity and tangle of emotions, she finds herself attracted to a Union officer who has classified her as “the enemy,” but with whom she develops a deepening epistolary courtship. She learns hard lessons of war by following news of the bloody fighting on the Mainland, by participating in the dangerous activity of smuggling supplies to Lee’s army, and by witnessing the war’s effects on hospitalized soldiers in the Federal City of Washington. As the war grinds on, her world reflects the age’s philosophical shift from Emerson to Social Darwinism, and promises outcomes that are both unclear and terrifying…