A kind of Confederate version of The Red Badge of Courage, Valor is about a young Southerner's coming of age under fire, his life on the march as an artillery man and his later fighting as a guerrilla. Tom had killed one Federal before he even left home, and this cut his taste for killing anything, animal or human. However two of his brothers are lost in battle after distinguished careers. And his family wants him to go: the South's liberty is at stake. The scene is the Shenandoah Valley where Tom spends two years soldiering. After a handful of battles and skirmishes, Tom receives his red badge, the loss of an arm. However, after a respite at home, he joins some irregulars and they set out to harry the Federals. His closest friend is a fellow with a leg shot off. Guerrilla fighting eventually disintegrates into simply staying alive and finding rations. When Lee surrenders, all of the guerrillas have been wiped out and Tom and his friend ride off to give themselves up. Their tatterdemalion surrender to some raggedy Federals on a rainswept mud road is a memorable climax, simple and modest, though the story continues toward a rhetorical conclusion. If the style is undistinguished, the novel still has a refreshing honesty that shuns romance.