Civil War author's latest book pits brother against brother

September 12, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Charles Town, W.Va., author Bob OConnor takes a break Wednesday from signing copies of his latest book, "A House Divided Against Itself," during an event at the downtown Hagerstown Visitor Welcome Center.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The phrase “brother vs. brother” during the United States Civil War was given a literal meaning in Charles Town, W.Va., author Bob O’Connor’s most recent book, “A House Divided Against Itself.”

The historical fiction work is based on real-life events in which two brothers fought on different sides of the Civil War and were twice involved in the same battle, O’Connor said Wednesday during a book signing at the downtown Hagerstown Visitor Welcome Center.

“Brothers fought on opposite sides often, but the war was so big it was very rare to have them actually fight in the same battle,” O’Connor said. “These two brothers were originally from Gettysburg.”

As the book relates, John Wesley Culp, the younger brother, moved to Shepherdstown in the 1850s, and joined the Confederacy when the war started, O’Connor said. His older brother, William Culp, joined the Union army.

The brothers fought at the Battle of Falling Waters on July 2, 1861, and the Second Battle of Winchester from June 13-15, 1863.

“This is based off 90 letters in the regimental rosters, so all the characters are real, and all the situations are real,” O’Connor said. “This follows the characters as they develop and all end up back in Gettysburg.”

Kenneth Peters of Hagerstown, who has known O’Connor since 1974, showed up to get a book and said he has bought every one of O’Connor’s books.

“I like the simplicity and the understanding of facts in his books,” Peters said. “You don’t have to guess what Bob’s intent is in the books.”

Clear Spring resident Susan Delauter, 52, showed up to get her book signed and said O’Connor was one of her teachers in high school.

“I try to follow his writings,” she said. “I like what he says about different aspects of the war.”

“A House Divided Against Itself,” is O’Connor’s seventh book, according to his website at It was published in October 2011.

Wednesday was the first of six book signings until Sunday, including a scheduled signing Thursday at Spring Mills Middle School in Falling Waters, W.Va. at 7 p.m., and another Friday at Antietam National Battlefield Visitors Center at 11 a.m., according to O’Connor’s website. 

“I’ve always loved Antietam Battlefield,” he said. “I have book signings all over this week just because of all the Civil War interest in this area.”

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