Carrying the Flag is a book written by Gordon Rhea about Charles Whilden. In this book, Rhea narrates and describes the story of Whilden, a Confederate soldier. Rhea narrates the battles and campaigns that gave Whilden the chance to become a hero, yet he was just an ordinary person. The author depicts the frustration that Charles undergoes in his life. He included the early 1860s events such as when Charles health hindered him from being selected into the Confederate army. However, Charles struggles to achieve success both in a personal and a professional manner. At the end, he ends up being accepted by the Confederate due to shortage of manpower. Also, he passes the bar when he pursues a career in law. Rhea used various uncovered sources to describe Charles’ life and his home. Through his research on the two early battles that took place in 1864, he depicts the way armies approached and met each other. He shows the intensity and suffering the men went through in the battles. He does this by painting grim pictures in the readers’ mind in his description of the events. Therefore, he makes the reader understand the horrific events that took place in the Battle of Spotsylvania and the Battle of Wilderness. (Boyer, 339)
The book is interesting and enjoyable to read, it tells a story of a hero who illuminated out of small and bloody war. It has a profound history of battles that took place in early 1860s; therefore, it makes the reader knowledgeable about the chronological events that took place in the Battle of the Wilderness and the Battle of Spotsylvania. It shows how men such as Charles made courageous moves in wars, but their actions ended up disappearing in the fog of time and history. It is out of this book that people may recall the events of the wars; thus, they could realize and appreciate the action of Charles. In other words, the book is educative to the reader, and it does justice to Charles bravery.
Charles chooses to fight with an intention to seek a proper military action and defend his state. The fact that he was epileptic did not seem to be an advantage to go to war. Nevertheless, he takes the opportunity and utilizes it and at the end he becomes a hero in the wars.
The author, Gordon Rhea calls Charles the unlikely hero because he tries to pursue various things in life, but fails, for example, he had tried to join the Confederate army, but he was turned down. Fortunately, he joins the Confederate army due to shortage of manpower. Also, Rhea describes him as a typical white South Carolinian committed to slavery. Charles was epileptic, and it was due to this reason that he had been out of service until 1964. Lastly, Charles never got married, and he was not successful in any of his occupations. Therefore, it seems so unlikely for him becoming a hero during the war. (Steger, 330)
Firstly, Rhea, the author, inspires the reader when he portrays that small steps may lead to a big accomplishment. In spite of Charles’ difficulties in his life, he ends up being a hero in the war. Secondly, the story enhances the readers’ understanding about the battle of the Wilderness and the Battle of Spotsylvania. It is due to this reason that readers appreciate the brave efforts made by men such as Charles.
The chronological events that take place in the story shape the life of Charles Whilden. Even though he fails to pursue different things in life, he becomes an unlikely hero in the war. The story depicts how Charles was brave and did not quit in pursuing something. Although his health status hindered him from joining the Confederate army, Charles did not quit in applying for a chance to join the army. After getting a chance in Confederate army, he utilizes it and ends up being recognized as a hero in the war.