On September 17, 1862,
an explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, kills seventy-eight girls rolling bullet cartridges for the Union army. News of the catastrophe is buried, however, beneath the horrendous casualty reports from the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest, single-day battle of the Civil War, fought on the very same day.
Inspired by these two real-life tragedies, Consecrated Dust: A Novel of the Civil War North tells the story of four young northerners – strong-willed Clara Ambrose; soldier, Garrett Cameron; industrialist, Edgar Gliddon; and immigrant, Annie Burke – friends, lovers, and bitter rivals. In the teeming streets and factories of Pittsburgh, and on the Civil War battlefields of the Army of the Potomac, they struggle to survive, forced to choose between love and duty, sacrifice and greed. Their choices ultimately lead to their presence at both the Allegheny Arsenal and the Antietam battlefield on that fateful September day, a day that reveals the true meaning of courage – a day not all of them will survive.
Based on five years of careful research, including the use of original source materials and maps, this historical novel also follows the men of Company A of the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves regiment, known as the Pittsburgh Rifles, from their recruitment and training, to the Civil War battlefields of Dranesville, the Peninsula, and Second Bull Run, culminating in their valiant fight in the infamous Cornfield at the Battle of Antietam.
Meet Mary Frailey Calland
Civil War Pittsburgh
The grand balls, the budding romance, a city
changing in the face of war. See the places
where all of this unfolded in the story.
Recently, I had the opportunity to do a taped interview with Morning Host, Josh Raulerson, for his program, Speaking Volumes, at the Southside studio of WESA 90.5, Pittsburgh’s NPR News Station. (The air date is yet to be determined, but I’ll notify readers via this web page, or you can check the Consecrated Dust F...
I feared interest in the September 17, 1862 Allegheny Arsenal explosion would wane as we got further away from the 150th anniversary of the event. So, I was thrilled when Tonia Caruso, one of the talented hosts of WQED’s Pittsburgh 360, contacted me about a segment she planned to do about the Arsenal explosion, and a...
AUTHOR MARY FRAILEY CALLAND