"Matty's War has brought the Civil War to life for my students. Matty became an inspiration for the girls and won the admiration of the boys." Diane Lewin, 6th grade teacher, Tariffville, Connecticut
December, 1863: Sixteen-year old Matty Trescott arrives in Simsbury, Connecticut, to live with her cousin Neely's family. Her farm in Kansas has been burned by Confederate raiders, her father and brother have joined the Union Army, and she has been sent to Connecticut for her safety. She and Neely are slated to attend school at the Hartford Female Seminary, but Matty has other ideas. When they get to Hartford, Neely stays but Matty heads for New Haven hoping to enlist in the army.
An Excerpt from Matty's War:"You're what?" It was not a question, but an involuntary response. I stared at what I could see of Matty's face through the darkness of our barn. So this was the big surprise, the news I had sworn to guard with my life. It was fantastic to even consider.
"Enlisting. Lincoln's going to issue another call for volunteers, and when he does I am signing up. I can't sit by and let this war pass me by."
"But Matty—you're a girl. They don't take women. What makes you think you can...They won't let you. Pa won't let you. I won't let you."
"Neely, don't be silly. I'm not going to go as a girl. I'll sign up as Matthew Trescott."
"But you can't," I spluttered. "I mean, your not a...you can't...how would you? You couldn't possibly. I mean, what about your...well, you don't have a beard. You don't look like a boy. You don't act like a boy. You aren't a boy! Boys are so—well, they're different!"