Charley Skedaddle Charley Skeddaddle is a story that takes place during the Civil War (1861-1865) in the North. The main character is Charley Stephen Quinn. He was a young boy growing up in New York City without parents. Charley's older brother Johnny died at the Battle of Gettysburg. We learned about Johnny through Charley's memories. He lives with his older sister Noreen, who recently became engaged to be married.
Charley was involved in a street gang called the Bowery Boys.
Charley has had a rough life and has difficulty learning to accept his brother's death. He wants to get revenge against the Confederate soldiers and this motivates him to join the Union army. He is inspired when he sees a military parade and a friend of his brother, or so he believes. That would be a perfect solution to his problems at home and a way to punish those responsible for his brother's death.
He had admired Johnny greatly and felt the only answer was to sneak into the army. Charley could not enlist because he was only 12 years old. He was determined to be a hero like his brother.
Since Charley was too young to be a soldier he became a drummer-boy for the army. He trained and worked hard to be a good one. He may have been physically ready for his first battle, but emotionally he was not. I don't think he really knew what killing a person involved. All of his life he watched the people he cared about be taken away from him.
First, it was his parents, then Johnny, then Noreen and now it was about to happen again. This time it was about Gem, the only person who took an interest in him during battle.
Gem was killed and this caused Charley's anger to peak. He shot the Confederate who killed his friend.
After realizing what he had done he panics and runs. He keeps running and that us when he earns the name Charley Skedaddle. It is a name that sticks with him for a long time. He was seen by others as being a coward for running.
Charley manages to escape the battle fields by hiding in the forest. He was caught by the Confederates but they released him. He finds shelter with Granny Jershua. It is with her he grows up and learns about life and its responsibilities. When he arrived at Granny's house he was a coward who did not feel worthy of any respect. We see a different Charley leave Granny's house. It is someone who is confidant and worthy of respect from others.
Charley and Granny each helped the other. Granny became the grandmother he never had and it felt good.
His maturity is proven when he sets out to rescue Granny. He could have run away but he didn't. He was determined to rescue Granny and didn't fear for his own safety. Charley refused to leave Granny until she was well enough to take care of herself. He was persuaded to leave in fear of being found for who he really was. Charley leaves with the understanding that he will be back someday and plans to keep in touch.
This story is fictional but it makes you think it could happen in any war at any time. Charley was a young boy not much older than myself. I don't know if I would have been that brave to join the army. He was brave but not motivated by the correct reasons. Charley was easily influenced and looked for excitement. Charley thought well of himself, and this was very important to him, and the same is important to each of us today. The way we see ourselves comes from the way others see us.
The book made me curious about the Civil War. I learned that it killed more Americans than any other war in history.
So many times we do things for the wrong reasons and never question why. I do not believe in war, and feel we can settle our differences with words, not killing. It would have been nice to read more about Charley's later life, because we do not know if he returns to Granny or ever sees his sister again. At times the book seemed a little boring.