Most 21st Century Civil War authors base their books on research and seminal works by other writers. Not Vernon Dutton.
Dutton has brothers-in-arms from 150 years ago who tell their stories through him. Their accounts offer a very personal perspective on historic events.
“I’m just like a pipeline,” says Dutton, “It’s a very emotional experience that comes to me, and I think ‘I have to write this down.’”
Little Rock, Arkansas author Vernon Dutton has published his first book of poetry, Civil War Reflections: Honoring the Battles, Soldiers and Spirits (Copyright 2012, Time Travelers Publishing ISBN: 978-0-9857444-0-3). The 111-page soft-bound edition contains original Civil War poetry penned by Dutton, photographs from battlefield reenactments, and foreword by Chief Historian Emeritus of the U.S. National Park Service, Edwin C. Bears.
Dutton is an avid Civil War re-enactor and, as a member of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry, has marched and “died” on battlefields from Shiloh to Sharpsburg. It is often at one of these reenactments that Dutton is overcome with “a flash of emotion” or “flow of words” that must be captured in ink. It is a writing process that has been occurring since 1996.
Vernon Dutton knows firsthand about the rigors of combat. The Marine helicopter co-pilot was shot down over Viet Nam in 1969. “It was a scary-as-hell experience,” Dutton recalls. “We took fire in the hydraulics closet and started to go down. The first thing that hit my mind was ‘you’re dead. My mind slowed down, and I remember a bullet coming through the cockpit and hitting just above my head. I immediately checked to see if the pilot was hit, because I was going to have to land this thing.”
Dutton realizes there is one common thread among soldiers from every generation and every battle. War in the trenches is not only about flag and country. “It’s about the fear of dying — knowing that in five minutes you may not be here — and coming together to keep each other alive,” explains Dutton. Camaraderie and a sense of duty to your buddy in a firefight is why men stand firm in the heat of battle.
Maybe that is why Dutton keeps getting messages from Civil War spirits. By retelling their stories through reenactment, photography, poetry and prose, Dutton is fulfilling his duty to brothers-in-arms from 150 years ago.
Vernon Dutton is an attorney who works in the insurance industry in Little Rock, Arkansas. He and his wife Nancy celebrated their 45th anniversary in 2012. He still gets messages from two Sources who continue to inspire more Civil War poetry.
If you want more information about this book, or to schedule an interview with author Vernon Dutton e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website.