Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith, is a story with a sense-of-duty theme in a historical fiction novel about a young man named Jefferson Davis Bussey who lives in Linn County, Kansas. His family lives out in the country and one day, his family is attacked by Confederate soldiers called Bushwhackers who nearly kill his father. This leads Jeff to travel to Fort Leavenworth and enlist in the Union Army in Kansas. Jeff, early on in the camp, is struggling by being bullied around by Captain Clardy, his leader at Leavenworth. Finally, after doing a lot of the dirty work at Leavenworth, Jeff gets his first opportunity to fight in battle and he ends up winning a medal. But afterward, he is notified and sent to a Confederate camp as a spy to Camp Van Buren. He was sent due to a rifle smuggling problem in the camps.
I enjoyed this novel. The detail Keith added to the storyline really makes you think about the plot and the story. Also, makes it easy to visualize the story and where Jeff is. It also makes you think like you are in Jeff’s shoes in the war environment. The point-of-view the book is written in 3rd person omniscient meaning Keith tells about every character's feelings and talks about them. I thought the book was very interesting and I recommend this book to students who like war books and the 1780s scene.