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For the previous two years, I have been writing vignettes for Untold Stories to celebrate Black History Month. Sponsored by the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, I’ve written original one-act plays depicting little-known episodes in African American history. These were presented at several historic churches in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Patrons travel from one church to another to see the various stories. This year we’re focusing on Women’s History Month and will present three vignettes. One will highlight women’s contribution and sacrifice during the Civil War.

In 1862 and 1864, St. George’s Episcopal Church served as a hosptial and then waiting area for wounded Union soldiers until they could be tranfered to the field hospitals at Belle Plains. Northern women traveled south as members of the U.S. Christian Commission and U.S. Sanitary Commission to bring food, clothing and medical supplies. They also brought their courage, committment and Christian religion to comfort the soldiers. They cared for the sick in many ways: bandaging wounds, feeding those who had lost their limbs, and writing letters to the loved ones soldiers left back home.

Women also served as soldiers. Like Deborah Sampson in the Revolutionary War, they disguised themselves as men, enlisted, and witnessed the bloodiest battles of war and crossed enemy lines, as did Emma Edmonds, aka: Frank Thompson.

Published by Malanna Carey Henderson

Malanna Carey Henderson is a Detroit native who presently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her adoptive city is rich in history. America's early colonial period and four major battles of the Civil War have marked its landscape. George Washington, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law attended the same church of which Malanna is a member. As a child, Malanna was an avid reader. Her favorite genres were biographies, mysteries, and historical fiction. The more books she read, the greater the urge to write grew. Malanna's creative attributes encompass playwriting, composing music, and singing. She has won two first-place awards for her one-act plays. On the Wings of Freedom is a book that combines several genres: a quest for social justice, adventure, and romance. The backdrop is 19th-century America. Here, the legal practices of the antebellum south are tested against the principles of freedom and democracy. On the Wings of Freedom is Malanna's first novel.

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