Black Powder, Gray Hope: Vengeance

Marty Duncan
Strategic Book Group , English

Three women loved him. Only one could ‘capture’ the quiet man who proved his courage in a Civil War regiment. Patrick’s life revolves around Kelsey, an Irish lass captured and abused during the Dakota War of 1862. Black Powder, Gray Hope portrays the graphic violence of war counterpoised against the soft hopes of brave participants on the Minnesota frontier.

Kelsey, a strong independent girl is captured and thrown among the 260 white women who were abused and threatened with death by the Dakota Warriors. She is, in her mind, damaged goods and needs to learn how to trust men. Her rescuers include Ransom Purdy, a debonair man about town, an agent-spy for Grant’s Army. His good friend Patrick Harant is a brave but naïve Union volunteer. Fate throws them together; the Civil War keeps them apart.

Ransom and Patrick are injured at Vicksburg. Kelsey travels to St. Louis and joins other volunteers who are helping the many injured men. It is here that Kelsey discovers Anna Lee Roan, a lady detective who may be first in the affections of both Ransom and Patrick. Shortly after the Battle of Nashville (December, 1864) Kelsey comes to Vicksburg to return Patrick’s ring. She finds a ‘working girl’ from New Orleans has set out to capture Patrick. Kelsey and Patrick watch when weak, debilitated men board the Sultana. Three days later the Sultana becomes America’s largest maritime disaster. At war’s end, with the men gone, Kelsey sits on the porch and ponders her future. Will she ever trust Patrick? Now that she has discovered he is ‘half-Choctaw’ how can she ever trust him?

About the Author:
“The Fifth Minnesota was at Fort Ridgely when the Dakotah began to murder immigrant men and women. They marched to rescue the hostage white women. The more I learned of the ‘ignored’ war in Minnesota, the more I hoped to tell the story of men and women who lived on the frontier.

Marty Duncan taught English and Journalism; he later served as school superintendent. The history of immigrant miners prompted the writing of Gold …then Iron. (published, 2003). The state’s longest teacher strike became a ‘fictional’ novel, Iron Lake Burning (published, 2003).

Duncan is a school board member, Vietnam Era Veteran, a member of American Legion and Lions and lives in southern Minnesota.

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