Suite Harmonic Connections>>

Suite Harmonic: A Civil War Novel of Rediscovery is a story about the Civil War, New Harmony, Indiana (founded to be a utopian community), and 19th century emigration from Ireland, specifically from County Donegal. It is based on the actual letters of John Given,who emigrated from Drumboarty, a townland outside Donegal Town.  Most were written when he was in the 25th Indiana. The following pages offer bits of background information, some from the letters themselves.
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NEW – December, 2012: In honor of the 150th anniversary of one of the Civil War’s most dramatic and lop-sided battles, between the remnant of the 25th Indiana and Van Dorn’s 10,000 Confederate men, read The Battle of Davis Mills.

John’s Letter Before Shiloh:
Suite Harmonic is based closely on Given family letters, most of them written by John Given Jr. to his sister Kate during the Civil War. The following letter is one John wrote to his parents when he arrived at Pittsburgh Landing the week before the Battle of Shiloh was fought there. A transcription follows the handwritten letter. Curious readers can compare what’s in the letter and what they’ve read in Chapters Seven and Eight of Suite Harmonic and match the above envelope addressed to Kate with events in the book. Read more…

1st Lt. Menomen O’Donnell, MOH:
One of the most intriguing things about working from the letters of John Given in writing Suite Harmonic, was discovering more about the people and places referred to in his letters. The excerpt featured on the banner is from a letter dated Davis Mills, Mississippi, December 31, 1862, that refers to John’s cousin Menomen O’Donnell, who was also from Drumboarty in County, Donegal in Ireland. Read more…

Reports of Christmas, 1863:
The following two Christmas-related letter excerpts are from the John Given collection, the primary source for Suite Harmonic.Transcripts are included below each excerpt. Read more…

Decatur, Alabama, July 3, 1864
July 4th is best known during the Civil War years for the dual Union victories in 1863—at Vicksburg and at Gettysburg—victories that turned the tide of the war in the North’s favor.  It was a very different sort of occasion for the 25th Indiana the next year. Read more…

Curious John Given Find:
This untitled poem that John Given of Suite Harmonic left in his copy of Byron at his death is by an unknown author. It was hand written and very difficult to transcribe. While its meaning is a bit elusive, one might conclude that John saved it because it reflected his desire to live in the present. It is one of the things I studied in trying to gain some understanding of his philosophical outlook, particularly in his later life.

Besotted man wastes half his time
Deep diving for the bliss sublime
That fills another sphere Read more…

County Donegal Today:
The Given family of Suite Harmonic emigrated from County Donegal in northwestern Ireland. Here is a handful of photographs taken about 150 years after they left. Read more…

New Harmony Today:
See pictures . . .

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