Beyond All Price

General Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs

By Carolyn Schriber

Publisher : Katzenhaus Books

ABOUT Carolyn Schriber

Carolyn Schriber
I am a retired college professor who specialized in medieval European history  After many years of writing academic monographs, I am now indulging my love of the Civil War by writing historical fiction. But along the way, I've also learned a great deal about today's publishing atmosphere. More...



Nellie M. Chase had no references and no experience except what life had taught her. Headstrong enough to risk parental disapproval for the man she loved,  she had eloped at the age of nineteen with a man she later described as a "drunk, a gambler, a liar, a forger, and a thief." She was strong enough to escape from that potentially abusive relationship and resourceful enough to find a job as wardrobe mistress for a theater. The woman with whom she shared a single room in a squalid tenement took an overdose of opium in an effort to escape a life of prostitution. Nellie joined the  Union Army, because life in the midst of a war seemed safer than the one she had been living.

The regimental chaplain did his best to drive her away, but Nellie was an uncooperative target.  She believed so passionately in her country’s cause that she faced danger with a soldier’s bravery. Her skill and compassion  led her patients to call her their very own Florence Nightingale. She was equally at home managing a southern plantation full of abandoned slaves, a battlefield operating station, or a 600-bed military hospital. But after the war, her deep-seated need to dedicate her life to a worthy cause continued to drive her efforts until she faced an enemy more lethal than war.

While I was writing a historical account of the 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment (known as the Roundheads), I kept coming across references to Nellie Chase, the regimental matron. While she was not strictly a part of my narrative, she was more interesting than many of the people about whom I was writing. When a librarian asked me if it was true that Nellie had an affair with the commander of the Roundheads, I knew I had to find out more about her.