Thousands of Americans lost their lives during the Civil War. Those who did survive include Hiram Terman, whose descendant, Max Terman, has written of the terrible ordeals endured by those brave soldiers. Using pension records, other military documents, and published accounts, Terman’s historical novel, “Hiram’s Hope,” portrays images of events almost too horrible to image.

For example, the hardships at the Andersonville Prison include the daily burial of Union dead. The attempted escapes there brought instant death.

The explosion of the overloaded paddlewheel boat, the Sultana, resulted in bodies of men, women and children blown into the frigid waters. Most of those men had survived Andersonville Prison and those who did stay alive after this disaster were permanently scarred. Terman’s account is heartbreaking.

When the train carrying Lincoln’s body passed through towns across America, the description of mourning citizens standing in the rain in the dark, awaiting the train — for just a glimpse of their beloved president’s train—is especially poignant.

Family members often could not recognize their returning sons —so emaciated and depressed. Today’s terminology calls it post-traumatic stress disorder. Terman’s version is touching, to say the least.

“Hiram’s Hope” is a novel portraying a “soldier’s search for himself,” and has been designed to “honor Andersonville survivors.” It is a sequel to “Hiram’s Honor,” a first-person account of Hiram’s Civil War marches, battles, imprisonments, etc., with fictional characters of Ohio’s 82nd Regiment to augment the narrative.

“Hiram’s Hope: The Return of Isaiah” by Max R. Terman, ISBN 978-4951-0591-3, is a 260-page paperback, illustrated book that can be ordered from Amazon ( as a printed book ($12.95) or as an e-book ($2.99). Signed copies are available from the author by emailing

Terman is professor emeritus at Tabor College in Kansas. He is the author of three books and numerous articles. Visit his blog at He personally would like to hear from anyone who knows about John Davidson of the 82nd Ohio and a Sultana survivor.

Sultana remembered

Pam Newhouse, a great-great-great-granddaughter of a survivor of the Sultana disaster, is editor of “Sultana Remembered,” an informative website at One can click on links to such subjects as history, articles, newsletter, and reunions as well as a searchable Civil War Prisoner Database.

The 2015 Reunion of Sultana Descendants and Friends will be held April 23–27, and a new documentary will be shown at a Memphis, Tenn., theater on April 27, the 150th anniversary of the Sultana disaster. A visit to the resting place of the Sultana is also planned.

Civil War sesquicentennial

Illinois continues to commemorate the sesquicentennial (150 years) of the Civil War. At its website,, there is a “statewide calendar of events related to the sesquicentennial, a timeline of Illinois and the Civil War, images and artifacts of the era, downloadable PDFs of Civil War-related articles and educational materials.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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