Saturday, February 4, 2012

War Chicken!

I first read about General Lee's chicken in a science fiction book. I can't remember the title, but the female lead dreams General Lee's dreams. It was both weird and cool.

I sort of mentally filed the information away, hoping it would come in handy sometime. The time is February, I think, on

One of the sources, a book purported to be by General Lee's cook and former slave, is written in dialect. Perhaps he dictated it. It is strange, and I am wondering if quoting from it is racist. I am uneasy about it, so maybe I will ask for some opinions.

The hen was real. Her name was Nellie Hen, and she was mostly black. The chicken around today that is close to what she may have looked like is a Black Star. Black Stars are a crossbred chicken, so not a relative. Apparently they are good egg layers, as was Miss Nellie Hen.

I find it amazing that a chicken could travel with the Army of Northern Virginia for over two years. She was, indeed, a true War Chicken


  1. Meg, I think if you use your source in its historical context it should not offend anyone. If you are still uneasy with it, post a disclaimer stating that the quotes are direct quotations taken from the source and that you do not intend any insult to any one. I do see the problem you have though. I wish I could help further. Since maybe you might ask for opinions, maybe I just gave one?

  2. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. In my rewriting, that is basically what I did--I gave the complete name of the book, stated that it was written in the early 1900s, said that it was unfortunately written in dialect. Then, at the end, I put the link to the book in Further Reading.

    I also have to say--the men who run Emerging Civil War are very professional and thorough. I am just about to get an email off to them to ask them what they think, and I know they will tell me.

    There is another blog, Civilianwartimes (I think) that features a diary from a southern woman that is just awful--but it is true to its source. Mych as I dislike Cornelia, I love that blog.