In his fiftieth novel, Dr. Slaughter (surpassing Balzac, quantitatively) tells the story of Stonewall Jackson's Stonewall Brigade, from his first command at Harper's Ferry through the battles of Manasses, his great Shenandoah Valley campaign, Antietam, his death at Chancellorsville and the brigade's further action at Gettysburg, Washington and Appomattox. All is seen through the eyes of a young Southern captain, Dr. David Preston, who had spent six months bandaging Garibaldi's troops in Italy, and his part-Cherokee sidekick Major Lachlan Murrell (the Cherokee Nation signed a separate treaty with the South). During a lull in the shooting, Dr. Preston marries his friend's social-butterfly sister Araminta and sets up house. Preston is also in the vanguard of a radical new technique fostered by Semmelweiss, called antisepsis -- or washing your hands before operating. The distinguished Virginia brigade grows to 4000 at its strongest but by Lee's surrender only 210 men are left. Rigid old Jackson steals much of the novel's interest from Preston, who, as his surgeon, attends him during the General's long death scene (""Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees"" -- famous last words). The novel proceeds with all the major actions of the war being recapped quite independently of Preston's story. Readable but hard to grip through the padding.