The end of the previous novel "Arise from the Dust" described how the recruits depart the training camp at Lafayette, Indiana to Indianapolis. There, they wait for another train to take them across the Midwest to a destination they believe will be the Army of the Potomac's winter camp.
The novel "Blood and Deadly Strife" starts as the troop train travels towards Washington, DC going faster and faster towards some unknown purpose. Other rail traffic are side railed as the train thunders through the country side as priority freight. No one knows why.
The train goes through DC, crosses the Potomac and ends up in Alexandria. The recruits board boxcars which take them to Brandy Station in northern Virginia.
Hurriedly equipped, the recruits are rushed as replacements to the 20th Indiana in time to take part in the Mine Run campaign, the last major battle of 1863. Raw recruits mingle with hardened veterans in the cold rain and terrible mud of northern Virginia. The recruits fast march into the battle ground fought over by the tough fighting Army of Northern Virginia led by General Lee. The veterans do not know them; the new men do not know what to do. Yet the Army of the Potomac expects them to move against the coming storm of lead without hesitation. Master their fear.
Myscal Taylor goes into action with a select group of US 2nd Sharpshooters who detail him to their small unit because of his distance shooting abilities. Years of shooting a Sharps rifle on the frontier of the early American West has crafted Myscal's uncanny skill to hit big game animals from a long way out. Now, he has shoot at fellow Americans. A newly arrived green recruit in the 20th Indiana. A nobody. But to the veteran sharpshooters he is a scarred, proficient man from the hard western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
His first experience of battle against men with whom he has no quarrel, no hatred.
Will he survive?
Joseph Taylor: Mormon Battalion, Donner Party, Utah War Militia Officer