New novel for children on Civil War

Civil War
Dr. Castanus Park. Photo provided

GRAFTON, Vt. – A new historical novel for children, “Grafton’s Medical Men,” has just been published by the Grafton Historical Society and is on sale. This is the third book in author Thomas Fontaine’s series on Grafton’s volunteers in the Civil War and focuses on two young men, actual residents of Grafton, who faced the challenge of treating the wounded Union Army soldiers and the drama of the ugly side of war. It describes how limited the medical knowledge was at that time and how the men needed to improvise to help the needy.

In 1862, the Vermont governor called Dr. Castanus Park, already a doctor in the village, to help form the medical unit of Vermont’s 16th regiment in Brattleboro. He enlisted the help of 22-year-old Edward Pettengill of Grafton to aid him in this task. The book follows the formation of the 16th regiment through events that led it to the Battle of Gettysburg and Pickett’s charge.

Fontaine’s book was written for children at the sixth grade reading level to help them understand the history of the Civil War through the lives of actual Grafton citizens and the historical events they experienced. He drew much of his information from diaries and histories written by local residents and photographs from local organizations. Fontaine is a middle school teacher at Kurn Hattin Homes in Westminster, Vt. He has been an educator for 30 years. The Grafton Historical Society has sponsored the publishing of his series of books.

This latest book along with his other two books, “The Messenger Boy of Grafton” and “The Grafton Cavaliers,” is available for sale at the historical society’s museum on Main Street and at local bookstores. For more information, email or call 802-843-2584.

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