On a cold, snowy night, thirteen-year-old Haswell Magruder makes a fateful decision. A wounded Confederate soldier appears at the family’s Virginia farm, and Haswell convinces his mother to take the man in, despite the dire repercussions if the enemy Yankees were to catch them in such an act. Unfortunately, this sets off a horrific chain of events that leaves their house burned to the ground and their farm in ruins.
With no home left, Haswell sets out in search of his older brother, a Confederate soldier. His quest is also a passage into manhood, as he experiences the last bloody days of the Civil War.