(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

Edward Colburne, of New Boston, met Miss Lillie Ravenel shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War and not long after she had come to New England with her father, Dr. Ravenel, who had been forced to leave Louisiana because of his refusal to support the Confederacy. Lillie was a loyal daughter of the South, Colburne an equally adamant supporter of the North.

Among Lillie’s acquaintances was Lieutenant Colonel Carter, on leave because of an injury. Colonel Carter was a general favorite with the ladies, and Colburne could find only one defect in his attractive personality: he drank too much. Carter, foreseeing that the war would be a long one, hoped to enlist more troops, Colburne, a loyal Yankee, agreed to recruit a company of his own.

Lillie’s flirtation with Carter alarmed her father. He liked Colburne instead, but his daughter did not encourage that young man’s attentions.

After saying farewell to Lillie, Colonel Carter and Captain Colburne set out under orders which eventually led them to New Orleans. Some time later, Dr. Ravenel and Lillie returned to their former home. Lillie found the city changed; women spoke bitterly about the Yankee soldiers. When Dr. Ravenel, having no other practice in the city, accepted a position as head of a hospital held by Union forces, he added further insult to the pride of the local citizens. Because Colonel Carter had tried to help the doctor find employment, his efforts gained him a welcome in the Ravenel house, although the doctor did not approve of the officer’s attraction for Lillie.

Dr. Ravenel’s kinswoman, Mrs. Larue, was attracted to Carter. When the doctor reproved her, she turned her attentions to Colburne. Because the Captain innocently rebuffed her attempted flirtation, Mrs. Larue took her revenge by telling Lillie that he had dined with the Meurices, a Creole family that had aided the Northern invaders.

Colonel Carter, preparing to drive a Southern regiment from the area, declared his love to Lillie before he left. Dr. Ravenel, adamant, would not consent to Carter’s proposal, for he thought the officer’s character questionable. Lillie wept, and her father suffered. After the engagement, Carter, for his heroism, was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana and stationed in New Orleans. A constant visitor in the Ravenel house, he gradually overcame the doctor’s distrust, and at last, he and Lillie became engaged. Carter was again ordered to active duty....

(The entire section is 1014 words.)