Virginia Cornue was faced with a task we will all face sooner or later – clearing out her mother’s house. What to keep, what to get rid of. No one gets through the whole process without feeling overwhelmed.

Virginia recalls the moment when she found, under her mother’s bed, a yellow gold Kodak box. She almost didn’t open it. But, inside were an entire set of handwritten letters home from a Civil War soldier. What she had found was an unmined, original, new, first-hand source of Civil War era history.

For Dr. Virginia Cornue, anthropology professor and author, this was indeed a goldmine.  Dr. Cornue is also an award winning women’s and civil rights activist, so to her, it important to understand the mindset and motivations of the civil warriors, both north and south.

She spent the next five years researching the letter-writer, William Wallace Beard, and his journey through the Civil War fighting for the South. Her book, co-edited with Civil War expert William R. Trotter, “So Much Blood” alludes to the colorful descriptions of most of the biggest Civil War battles.

VIrginia Cornue’s interview with me from the Storytellers Summit, sets us down among the soldiers and their families in the South – writing and reading letters, recalling their illnesses and Sundays at church.

Her book, So Much Blood the Civil War Letters of CSA Private William Wallace Beard 1861-1865 (co-edited with William R. Trotter) was published spring 2015.