A picture book for older readers, based on fact and done in diary form, tells the story of Orion Howe, a 12-year-old Civil War drummer boy who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and who was the subject of an ode in the Atlantic Monthly, reprinted at the back. Following his father and younger brother, Lyston, into service, Orion marches around the country, endures hardship and privation, sees action several times, and experiences the horrors of war. At Vicksburg he is wounded while getting ammunition, but completes his task before going to the field hospital. He is sent home, but returns and re-enlists when he heals. A rather flat, carefully colorless narration allows the power of the story to come through without distraction. Orion's diary entries reveal aspects of the war without wallowing in gore; in addition to the battles, he effectively conveys the tedium, mud, disease, hunger, and fear that accompany the soldiers. Abetted by Garland's startling paintings, which depict the faces in a photo-realistic fashion but allow other details in the scenes to remain as sketchy as memory, Brill's book succeeds as fiction, and will have many uses in the history classroom.