"I was born a slave, as was my father before me, but I shall die a free man." Thus begins the poignant story of Samuel Washburn, born a slave in 1850. A young master's cruelty leads to an unforeseen confrontation, which results in Sam and his cousin fleeing the plantation for their lives. They run north to freedom, only to return the South to fight for the greater cause in the Civil War. While still a boy, Sam becomes a regimental drummer with a "colored regiment" and sees action in the Wilderness campaign at Fredericksburg and Petersburg, and in the bloody Battle of the Crater in July 1864.
Sam's voice offers a unique and insightful perspective on the carnage of the War Between the States and the toll it took on both young and old, black and white.