Essentially this is the second volume of the fictional career of Hacey Miller (p. 24) which brings the pleasant Kentuckian into the thick of battle and intrigue during the Civil War. Forced to leave the brand new Berea College in 1859 to the mercies of an anti-slavery mob, Hacey, with spunky Ellie who will become his wife, first joins the Union cause with Wolford's Cavalry. He is also very briefly with General Cassius Clay, one of his former idols, who is attempting to find his place in the Federal hierarchy. While awaiting orders to join Higginson (whom he met at Harvard) and his black troops, Miller travels to Washington and becomes involved in the disgraceful ""court martial"" of General Fitz-John Porter. In spite of veiled threats and blackmail, Miller provides information on perjured testimony. At the last Miller is stationed at Fort Pillow with Higginson, and Sherburne offers new interpretations for the failure of the famous stand. After the war Hacey and Ellie return to Berea, which reopened in 1866. Sherburne's modest, gentle style does little for his fictional characters, who are generally bland and pale, but his responsible portraits of real personalities and accounts of military and political skirmishes give the novel a compensating solidity.