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First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier's Story by Bob Rogers

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Synopsis

First Dark is a character-driven historically correct 19th century coming of age quest for seven teenagers.  In an epic journey, the central character, Isaac Rice, a young ex-slave and Buffalo Soldier, struggles to overcome bitter family losses, enemies, and forces of nature.  High adventures await Isaac, his friends, and enemies amid the violence of the American Civil War, Indian Wars, Reconstruction, and spillover bloodshed from a Mexican Revolution.

They meet entrepreneurs; argue the issues of their time; fall in love; struggle to survive violence, experience loss, and finally, redemption.  Sourced from original 19th century documents and over a hundred books, their trails and trials unfold across South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua. 

Isaac is beset by utterly unforgettable characters – William, a Confederate guerilla; James, a Union cavalryman; Rachel, a black female activist in Mississippi’s Constitutional Convention; Ortega, a Mescalero Apache warrior; and Alejandra, a Mexican nurse.  The voices of Isaac and his contemporaries reveal the mores, cultures, greed, genius, and ignorance of their peoples.  Along with tragedy and horror, they bring history and humor into Isaac's life.

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South Carolina

Mississippi

Indian Territory (Oklahoma)

s edisto river


South Edisto River (c) 1995 BBBR.

enslaved people
Enslaved People (public domain photo)

arapaho cheif
A pensive Arapaho (c) First People.

aiken's court yard
Gov. Aiken's townhouse rear courtyard (c) 2010 BBBR

ladder back chair
Ladder back chair (c) 1992 BBBR.

cheyenne woman
Cheyenne woman (c) First People

rice
Rice (c) 1992 BBBR.

cotton plants
Cotton plants in July (c) 1995 BBBR.

wild buffalo
Wild Buffalo (c) First People

jehossee island
Jehossee Island (c) 2010 BBBR.

cabins
Cabins for the enslaved (c) 1995 BBBR.

ft sill
Ft Sill built by 10th Cavalry (c) 1997 BBBR.

main gate
Main Gate (c) 1997 BBBR.

vicksburg battlefield
Vicksburg Battlefield (c) 1995 BBBR.

cadet flipper
Lt Henry O. Flipper (public domain photo)

spanish moss
spanish moss (c) 1992 BBBR.

rachel's pallet
Rachel's pallet (c) 1995 BBBR.

smithy
Blacksmith Shop (c) 1995 BBBR.

bob white
bobwhite (c) 1995 BBBR.

 

Estados Unidos Mexicanos

New Mexico

Texas

Allie's home1
Alejandra's home in Carrizal (c) 1997 BBBR.

victorio
Chihenne Chief Victorio (public domain photo)

Isaac's weapons
Isaac's sling, carbine, and carbine saddle boot (c) 1992 BBBR.

Allie's home2
Front of Alejandra's home in Carrizal (c) 1997 BBBR.

chato
Mescalero Chief Chato (public domain photo)

sgt joyce's office
SGT Joyce's office at Ft Concho (c) 1997 BBBR.

rafael's pen
Rafael's animal pen (c) 1997 BBBR.

buffalo hunt
Buffalo Hunt (c) First People.

ft concho mess
Mess hall at Ft Concho (c) 1997 BBBR.

bandito
Lerdistas militiaman (public domain photo)

cutting mescal
Apache woman cutting mescal (c) First People.

rattlesnake spring
Rattlesnake Spring (c) 2011 BBBR.

isaac caught richardo here
Isaac captured Ricardo here. (c) 1997 BBBR

shoes
Ortega's moccasins (c) 1992 BBBR.

tenth charge
Charging Tenth Cavalry (public domain photo)

reservation
Mescalero Reservation (c) 1997 BBBR.

ft davis
Fort Davis (c) 1992 BBBR.

First Dark: A Buffalo Soldier’s Story
© 2011 Bob Rogers.  All rights reserved.

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First Dark's Cast of Non-Fiction Characters

 

Harriet Aiken, wife of William Aiken, Jr.

Henrietta Aiken, daughter of William Aiken, Jr.

William Aiken, Jr., Governor, US Congressman, South Carolina

Thomas H. Allsup, First Sergeant, Co A, 10th Cavalry

Alexander Augusta, Major, First Black Physician in US Army

Griffin M. Bender, Owner of Bender Plantation

Wash Bender, Slave, Bender's valet during the Civil War

William Blackburn, Colonel, Battalion Cmdr, 7th Illinois Cavalry

Cadete, Chief, Mescalero Apache

L. Henry Carpenter, Captain, Co H, 10th Cavalry

Cochise, Chief, Chiricahua Apache

George Crook, General, US Army

George A. Custer, US Army, 7th Cavalry

Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States

Joseph Davis, Jeff's older brother

Charles Dougherty, Private, Co A, 10th Cavalry

Henry O. Flipper, Lieutenant, Co A, 10th Cavalry

Ulysses S. Grant, General, US Army, President, US

Alice Grierson, Colonel Grierson's wife

Benjamin H. Grierson, Music teacher, Colonel, 7th Illinois Cavalry, 10th US Cavalry

Charles Jackson, Slave (William Aiken, Jr.'s Coachman)

Henry P. Jacobs, Natchez City Councilman

Andrew Johnson, President, US

Richard Johnson, son of William Johnson (the barber of Natchez)

Robert Johnston, Co A, 10th Cavalry

Robert F. Joyce, Ordinance Sergeant, 10th Cavalry

Kaytennae, War Leader, Chihenne Apaches

James Kaywaykla (Torres), Chihenne Apache, grandson of Nana

Abraham Lincoln, President, US

James Lynch, Secretary of State, Mississippi

John R. Lynch , US Congressman, Mississippi

Ranald Mackenzie, Colonel, 4th US Cavalry

Ben Montgomery, Slave, manager of Davis Plantation, Entrepreneur

Isaiah Montgomery, Slave, Son of Ben Montgomery

Mary Montgomery, wife of Ben Montgomery

Nana, War Leader, Chihenne Apaches

Nicholas M. Nolan, Captain, Co A, 10th Cavalry

E.O.C. Ord, US Army, General, Civil War, Indian Wars

John C. Pemberton, General, CSA Army

Randall Pollard, Pastor, Rose Hill Baptist Church, Natchez

William Prince, Colonel, Quartermasters, 7th Illinois Cavalry

George Raulston, Lieutenant, Co A, 10th Cavalry

Hiram R. Revels, US Senator, Mississippi

Don Jose Rodriguez, Carrizal citizen; uncle of fictional character Torres

Rufus Saxton, General, US Army

Philip Sheridan, US Army, General, Civil War, Indian Wars

William T. Sherman, General, US Army

Richard Surby, Sergeant, Scout, 7th Illinois Cavalry

William Tunnard, Sergeant, 3rd Louisiana Infantry Regiment

Victorio, Chief, Chihenne Apaches

Robert Wood, Mayor of Natchez, Sheriff of Adams County, Mississippi

Hiram Young, Slave, Entreprenuer, Wagon Manufacturer