Bob O’Connor is the author of ten books including nine on the American Civil War. He has been named four times as finalist in national book awards.
His book “The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison” includes the biographies of 105 colored soldiers incarcerated in that famous Georgia prison including 47 who were captured at the Battle of Olustee.
The Charles Town, West Virginia author has followed that book up with the study of all the black prisoners in the Civil War. Historians had said there were 776 (including those at Andersonville). O’Connor has found over 2,570 including U.S.C. T. soldiers and sailors. He maintains the ongoing study and national database of the U.S. Colored Troops who were prisoners of war.
His new book “The U.S. Colored Troops Prisoners of War Captured at Olustee” will be ready by the Olustee reenactment. This is O’Connor’s fifth time at the event at Olustee. The new book includes the bios of fifty soldiers from the 8th U.S.C.T., 35th U.S.C.T. and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry who took part in the battle at Ocean Pond and were captured.
O’Connor will also have his newest historical fiction book at the event – a book called “The Amazing Legacy of James E. Hanger – Civil War Soldier”. Hanger was a member of the Churchville Cavalry, CSA, and the first amputee of the Civil War. His left leg was mangled by a cannon ball on the morning of June 3, 1861 at the first land battle of the war at Philippi, Virginia. His leg was amputated that day by Union surgeon.
Hanger was not satisfied with the Union peg leg he received, and instead used his engineering background and ingenuity to build himself an artificial leg with a hinge at the ankle and a hinge at the knee. While his intention was building himself a leg that would function at least in some sense as a real leg should, others wanted one too. He ended up starting up an artificial leg factory and provided artificial limbs (called Hanger Limbs) to veterans on both sides of the war.
If the story ended there, it would be a good story. But it doesn’t end there. Mr. Hanger expanded his operations to Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Baltimore by the turn of the century. He expanded his factories to Paris and London to honor contracts he had in WWI with those countries to provide artificial limbs for their deniable veterans.
Today Hanger Inc. still includes in its hierarchy, descendants of the founder. They operate over 700 clinics in the U.S. and provide prosthetic and orthopedic care for over 1,000,000 patients. They are a member of the N.Y. Stock Exchange and are the world’s largest provider of prosthetics and orthotics.
The author’s historical fiction books include "The Perfect Steel Trap Harpers Ferry 1859", a historical novel about the John Brown raid, trial, and execution; "The Virginian Who Might Have Saved Lincoln", the story of Ward Hill Lamon, who was born in Jefferson County and was Lincoln's personal bodyguard; "Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War", the story of a colored blacksmith who lived at Beall Air as a slave to Colonel Lewis Washington; and “A House Divided Against Itself” about two brothers who fought in two battles against each other. His non-fiction books are "The U.S. Colored Troops at Andersonville Prison,” and “The Life of Abraham Lincoln as President.” The Lincoln book O’Connor edited a book written by Lincoln’s bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, his bodyguard in the 1880s but never before published.
All books will be available for sale and signing by the author. They may also be purchased on the author’s website at www.boboconnorbooks.com.