In the Crossfire Between Heaven and Hell

Who Witnessed the Worst of Human Suffering and Helped Heal a Grateful Nation

Authors: Vic Butsch and Tommy Coletti
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover Type: Soft Cover
Pages: 208
Size: 6×9
ISBN: 978-1-935258-64-3
Cost: $14.95
Publisher: Husky Trail Press LLC  
Purchase Book or Ebook: Amazon

Dorence Atwater survived not only bloody battles, but the absolute worst of Civil War prisons. While at Andersonville he made a dangerous and solemn promise to himself that would define his entire life.

Clara Barton had to change the thinking of the Army as well as the whole nation to have an ‘opportunity’ to live through her own “Hell” on earth, which was to care for the thousands of horribly wounded and dying young men left on the battlefields. The chance meeting of these two magnificent individuals and the miracle they accomplished against all odds will leave the reader both amazed and grateful.


The Civil War was the most cruel, vicious and bloodiest war in the history of the United States. The suffering and death inflicted by the North and South on the battlefields was only surpassed by the treatment received on both sides when they created prisons. The worst was Andersonville, although several prisons on each side were in competition for that title. Yet, in the destruction and depredations of the American Civil War, there also were notably many instances of heroism, humanity, and even periodic appearances of God’s grace. Amid the worst examples of what men can do to each other, there were those individuals who somehow had the ability to rise above the business of war and its inherent cruelty to accomplish something extremely good where only hell, itself, seemed to be in existence. This is the story of two such people caught up in that terrible Civil War more than 150 years ago.

Dorence Atwater

This is a factual account of how two exceptional people were raised to a higher level by the other. For a while, they were completely dependent upon each other for help, support and trust to keep between them a vital secret list of over thirteen thousand Union soldiers buried in the Andersonville prison cemetery. The amazing story of the “Andersonville Death List” cannot be told without both Dorence Atwater and Clara Barton. It is the story of what they accomplished together in the name of what was good and right. Neither of them prospered from this merger and never forgot the other throughout the rest of their lives. They are forever tied together in this true story where right finally shined through the dark clouds of war and evil.

Against the backdrop of some of the most important and recognizable milestones in our nation’s history, the imprisonment of Dorence Atwater, simply called Dor by most everyone, led him to make a duplicate list of the Union men who died and were buried at Andersonville. Dorence survived Belle Isle, Andersonville and Florence prisons only to face malicious treatment when the politics with in the Federal Government did not wish to make his list public. 

Clara Barton

Clara’s calling was to get medical recognition and be allowed to help soldiers at the front during a period when such action was deemed ‘un-lady like’ and utterly unacceptable. After she broke through that barrier, she saw the war up close and its overwhelming supply of blood, gore and human suffering. This affected her deeply and caused her several bouts of depression. But there would also be happiness and success for her on the other side of the war…