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Rifles for Watie

by Harold Keith  |  Grades: 6-12  |  Lexile 910  |  Reading Level 6.1

A captivating and richly detailed novel about one young soldier who saw the Civil War from both sides and lived to tell the tale.

Jefferson Davis Bussey is sixteen when the Civil War breaks out. He can't wait to leave his Kansas farm and defend the Union against Colonel Watie, the leader of the dreaded Cherokee Indian rebels.

But Jeff soon learns that there's more to our war than honor and glory. As an infantry soldier, he must march for miles, exhausted and near starvation. He sees friends die in battle. He knows that each move he makes could be his last. Then Jeff is sent to infiltrate the enemy camp as a spy. And it is there that he makes his most important discovery: The rebels are just men - and boys - like him. The only difference between them is their cause. Passing himself off as a rebel, Jeff waits for the information he needs to help the Union conquer the enemy forces. But when the time comes, Jeff finds himself up against a very difficult decision. Should he betray the enemy? Or join them?

Winner of the Newbery Medal * An ALA Notable Children's Book * Winner of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

Available Teacher Guides, Novel Units, Lesson Plans, & More For Rifles for Watie: