Johnny Linn tells the story of how, when he was 14 years old, he left illinois and became a courier for General Wilson in the 1864 battle for Nashville against General Hood. When his father disappeared and his mother died, he was ""took-in"" by Old Man Dolph, and set to work loading cotton. At the first opportunity he escaped on a train for Tennessee and was sheltered by a circus troop. At nashville he went to see General Wilson, a hometown boy, who enlisted Johnny as a clerk-courier to protect him from Dolph. Johnny's retelling of events is thoroughly convincing, and his ringside view of one of the important battles of the Civil War makes absorbing reading.