The Battle of the Boat video

When writing the Jackson Speed novels, I try very hard to find interesting, unique, and often forgotten episodes from history to slip into my plots. When I was writing the first of the Jackson Speed novels, I stumbled upon the story of the Battle of the Boat, and I knew immediately it was the exact sort of disaster in which Jackson Speed should take part.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of sources about the event, but there were enough that I was able to piece together a pretty thorough approximation of what happened.

In the video above, I discuss the Battle of the Boat and what took place on the Rio Grande to make General Taylor decide that he was not taking any of the Georgia militia units into battle with him during the Mexican-American War.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction and like your heroes to be on the scoundrel side, please check out the Jackson Speed Memoirs. And if you enjoy the novels, leave a review on Amazon!

Also, go and “like” the Jackson Speed page on Facebook where I am regularly posting short videos in which I discuss my research and the novels.

What happens when you call an Irishman a mule? Author Robert Peecher discusses the ‘battle of the boat’ in The Hero of El Teneria

Rob Peecher and Melissa Bowden at Library book signing.

Rob Peecher (left) signing books at an author talk.

I periodically do author talks, and they are usually a lot of fun for me.

I enjoy being able to talk to a group of people about Jackson Speed and the research that goes into writing historical fiction.

What I most enjoy about them is the audience interaction and being able to answer questions and have a conversation with the audience about the books.

Unfortunately, most of the talks I do are in front of people who have never read any of the Jackson Speed books. Most of the folks who read Jackson Speed are in far off places like Alaska and the United Kingdom, and I don’t have any publishing house send me on worldwide speaking tours.

So until someone decides to pony up the cash for a worldwide speaking tour, I thought it might be worthwhile to stand in front of a video camera and get some footage of me talking about Jackson Speed, and that might be a way for people who have enjoyed the books to have the opportunity to “attend” an author talk.

Obviously, we lose the interaction, but if anyone posts in the comments here or at Youtube or on Facebook, I’ll be glad to try to answer their questions.

The first talk addresses the question that I still get from readers more than anything else: Was the battle of the boat scene in the Hero of El Teneria based on an actual event?

Let me know what you think – and if you have questions, feel free to post them on the blog or at any of my social media accounts and I’ll try to get you an answer!

Q&A with the author

I’ve started a Q&A section at for the Jackson Speed books, and to kick it off a little bit I decided to go ahead and ask myself the first question and answer it. It is the question I most often get from people who have read the book:

“Was the Battle of the Boat real?”
The answer is an unbelievable YES!

In researching Jackson Speed, I used (among many other sources) newspaper articles from a couple of Georgia newspapers. As I was reading the articles, I read one that referred to a “despicable incident” that occurred between two companies from Georgia. I knew immediately, whatever companies were involved and whatever happened, I was somehow going to have to get Ol’ Speedy involved in that.

I did a fair amount of research beyond the newspaper articles, and the sources were sometimes wildly divergent in their details. Some of the newspaper articles were so wrong about what took place (one article, for instance, had Col. H.R. Jackson shooting his own men on the deck of the boat, when in fact he was miles away with Gen. Taylor), and often those errors of fact were never corrected.

None of the sources I could find was what I would consider authoritative, although some had very specific details that were clearly accurate. So I took what made the most sense out of all of my sources and created Jackson Speed’s version of the Battle of the Boat. I believe it is accurate, or accurate enough. It does seem that the fight began over anti-Irish insults from the Kennesaw boys against the Jasper Greens; I believe the fight started down on the beach and was taken up later in the day on the deck of the boat. It seems to me from all of the sources that it is most likely that the fight was under control by the time the Illinois Col. Baker rushed the boat.

The Battle of the Boat was one of the great surprises to me as I researched the book … what a wonderful episode of history (mostly forgotten) to be able to add into my novel!