Interactive Historical Fiction e-books

Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty 

Charley Skedaddle

Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Charley leaves the gangs of New York City to join the Union army at 12 years old. He is anxious to have the opportunity to avenge his brother who died at the battle of Gettysburg. After months of training to become a drummer boy, he finally sees his first battle in the horrid Wilderness of Virginia. When he deserts his company and runs through the terrifying woods filled with the dead soldiers of Confederate and Union soldiers alike, he has no idea how he'll survive the journey to the West on his own. Then he meets Granny Jerusha Bent, who takes him in as little more than a prisoner. He's not quite sure what will become of his life…



In this powerful story, based on real-life Civil War records and memoirs, young Yankee deserter Charley Quinn learns that his flight from his first battle doesn’t brand him a life-long coward. Rich detail…readers will love this rousing epic.
— Kirkus Reviews
Fighting is important to Charley Quinn, 12, a street-tough New York Bowery Boy who runs away from his Irish-Catholic home to join the Union forces in Virginia. But war proves much more horrible than he’d thought so terrible, in fact, that he deserts, giving himself the disparaging name “Skedaddle.” Afterward, Charley takes refuge in the mountains with Granny Bent, a midwife with her own secret loyalties. This well-crafted, somewhat episodic novel makes the point that fighting brings honor, and cowardice, shame. The settings from the Bowery, to the battlefield, to Granny’s cabin are quite powerful. These, along with Charley’s disillusionment and change, give this novel depth and make it one of Beatty’s best.
— Publishers Weekly