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Dear America Wiki

"After six years of war, most of our soldiers are still without stockings. Though their coats are shabby, they are proud and cheerful. When the Pennsylvania Brigade marched by and I saw Papa, I yelled and waved to him, as did Sally and Mama."
Abigail Stewart[2]

Cannons at Dawn: The Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart is the sequel to The Winter of Red Snow written by Kristiana Gregory. The book is Gregory's fifth book for the series. It is also the thirty-ninth book in Scholastic's Dear America after Like the Willow Tree. The book was published in May 2011.

The book follows Abigail Stewart and her family during the final years of the Revolutionary War.


"Cannons at Dawn is dedicated to my wonderful mother, Jeanne Kern Gregory, whose ancestors marched with General Washington and were from Kernstown, Virginia. Mom's love for writing, reading, and research inspired me as a young child and inspires me still.
Also, this is in loving memory of Ann Reit, my longtime editor–a formidable and often terrifying one–who guided me through
The Winter of Red Snow. It was great fun brainstorming with her and we became dear friends. About writer's block she said, "Forget about it. Just tell the story!" I miss her deeply."

Book description[]

"My name is Abigail. My story continues....
We join Abigail Stewart half a year after
The Winter of Red Snow ended, in January of 1779. Her father has enlisted in the Continental Army, and when a devastating fire destroys Abby's home, she, her mother, and siblings must make their way to Philadelphia, then on to the Continental Army camp to be near Abby's father. They follow the soldiers from one battleground to the next, dodging the British troops, and narrowly escaping danger time and again.
The winters are brutally cold, food is scarce, and the anguish of war is ever present. But not all is desperate. Abby meets many new friends, including a young soldier named Willie Campbell. As romance blooms, Abby wonders if the war will ever end.


It has been several months since Abigail Stewart's father Edward has enlisted in the Continental Army. Abigail, her mother Sarah, and siblings Elisabeth, Sally, and Johnny are still in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when their house suddenly catches fire in January 1779. They travel to Philadelphia, where a kind woman takes them in. Sarah later decides to join her husband at the Army encampment. Elisabeth opts to stay behind with Ben Valentine, a soldier whom she loves.

On their journey, they are accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, the parents of a soldier named Willie. Abigail and her family soon settle into their new situation, full of new and old friends, including Martha Washington. The women and children march far behind the soldiers whenever it is time to move to a different place. On one such marches, the Stewarts befriend a freewoman Miss Lulu and her daughter Mazie. In West Point, Abigail, Sally, and Mazie encounter a British boy named Tom Penny. They eventually convince him to come to the camp with some coaxing from Willie. Tom later becomes a drummer for the Army.

Willie shows Abigail a wanted poster for two runaway slaves that matches the description of Miss Lulu and Mazie. Abigail loyally keeps her friend's secret, but an officer becomes suspicious. Ahead of time, Sarah and Mrs. Campbell arrange for a freeman soldier to pretend to be Miss Lulu's husband. Time moves fast as Abigail's fourteenth birthday passes and she makes a friend Esther, who is newly married and also fourteen. Months later, a spy for the British is hanged, but his accomplice Benedict Arnold is not discovered for some time.

The following winter, Abigail grows closer to Willie, who later proposes. They are married on June 6, 1781. Nearly two months later, Abigail learns that she is expecting a child. At the end of summer, they return briefly to Philadelphia. Sarah decides to stay there with Sally and Johnny, but Abigail joins Esther and other woman on the road to Yorktown, Virginia. It takes seventeen days to walk there, at which point they discover the siege has been going on for some time. Once the British finally surrender, Abigail is happily reunited with her father and husband.


Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Cannons at Dawn characters
  • Abigail Stewart, a twelve-year-old girl who grows up fast during the Revolutionary War. After the family home burns down, she, her mother, and siblings join their father at the soldier encampment.
  • Willie Campbell, a soldier and friend of Abigail's father. His father joins the Army as a blacksmith, while his mother becomes a close friend of Abigail and her mother.


Main article: Kristiana Gregory

Kristiana Gregory is a children's author whose debut novel, Jenny of the Tetons, was published in 1989. She penned The Winter of Red Snow, Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie, The Great Railroad Race, and Seeds of Hope in Dear America. Gregory also contributed three books in The Royal Diaries and three in My America. In the "About the Author" section, Gregory said "Since a child, I've felt a kinship with the Colonial era because several of my ancestors fought in the War of Independence."


  • Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin
  • Publisher: Scholastic Audio
  • Published: May 1, 2012[4]
  • Running time: 4 hours and 43 minutes
  • No. of discs: 4
  • ISBN: 9780545315265


"For help with research and insight into the camp followers, I'm grateful to Carrie Fellows, Administrator of the Morris County Heritage Commission in Morristown, NJ; and for the writings of John U. Reed, specifically, "Female Followers with the Continental Regiments"; and Holly A. Mayer's book, Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution. Another invaluable resource was the 1830 publication by Joseph Plumb Martin: A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Interspersed with Anecdotes of Incidents That Occurred Within His Own Observation. A 1995 reprint by Holiday House is titled Yankee Doodle Boy.
Above all, I am happily indebted to my editor, Lisa Sandell, and my literary agent, Elizabeth Harding, for their encouragement and support.


  • Tim O'Brien illustrated the portrait on the cover. The background is a detail from a c. 1857 engraving Storming of Stony Point from the North Wind Pictures Archives.[5][6]


See also[]

Arts & Crafts, File:Cannons at Dawn Discussion Guide.pdf

Dear America

A Journey to the New World | The Winter of Red Snow | When Will This Cruel War Be Over? | A Picture of Freedom
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly
West to a Land of Plenty | Dreams in the Golden Country | Standing in the Light | Voyage on the Great Titanic
A Line in the Sand | My Heart Is on the Ground | The Great Railroad Race | The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow
A Light in the Storm | Color Me Dark | A Coal Miner's Bride | My Secret War | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
Valley of the Moon | Seeds of Hope | Early Sunday Morning | My Face to the Wind | Christmas After All
A Time for Courage | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall | Survival in the Storm
When Christmas Comes Again | Land of the Buffalo Bones | Love Thy Neighbor | All the Stars in the Sky
Look to the Hills | I Walk in Dread | Hear My Sorrow


The Fences Between Us | Like the Willow Tree | Cannons at Dawn | With the Might of Angels | Behind the Masks
Down the Rabbit Hole | A City Tossed and Broken

External links[]