We’re thrilled to have here today Jedediah Worth from F.W. Abel’s historical novel, Deeds of a Colored Solder during the Rebellion, Volume I: From the Beginning to Chickamauga. Jedediah is a 53 year old retired career soldier living in Langston City, OK.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Jedediah. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
The story was faithfully recorded as I told it, mistakes in memory and all. I guess some mistakes with be made when a retired old man is telling his story beginning when he was 15 years old. I give the book credit for correcting my mistakes of fact, not in my narrative, but in the Endnotes.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Again, he recorded my story, pretty much as I related it to him. I know my personality changed from the beginning of the book, when I was still a slave, to the end, after I had fought in a few battles. Participation in war, as you may surmise, has a significant emotional impact on its participants. I know I was quite naïve at the beginning of the book, especially in my acceptance of being a slave, to its end, when I would fight, and did fight, to end slavery and free all of my people.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
That I finally became honest with myself, and accepted that I could be killed. Before that, like many young men, I thought I was immortal. Being wounded, and captured, and almost being killed, affected me but did not, at least ultimately, bring me down.
Hatred. At the beginning of the Southern Rebellion, I regarded myself as a Southerner, and had great regard for many Confederate soldiers, including my master who forced me to accompany him as his servant.
At the end of the war, I grew to hate the ex-Confederates, who lost the war yet still refused to recognize our hard-won freedom. After enduring what we had endured, our sacrifices were in vain, and to right that, I couldn’t put down the gun. That was the reason I had to go back into the army, on be posted on the frontier. I was just too “uppity.” If I stayed in the South, no doubt I would not have survived.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
The old me, Denzel Washington. I don’t know about me as a young man.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
I did. It was my first love. I was barely 16, and had no idea what love was. It didn’t work out. We met before I became a soldier, and saw the horror of war. She didn’t get over some romantic notions of what love should be. She ended up marrying someone else.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I never really got nervous, because I knew how it would turn out. Recall it was my story, told by me, in my own words. If anything, telling the story forced me to relive all the regrets of my long life.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
Martin Hawkins, not because he was a Confederate soldier, but because he was worthless as a soldier for his own side, and as a human being. He shirked his fair share of soldiering, and was a coward to boot.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
Really good. I survived.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Keep writing exactly what I tell you, and you can’t go wrong.
Thank you for this interview, Jedediah. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I hope so. I already told the author what to write to get me through the end of the war and back into civilian life.
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