"His Sombre Rivals" is a novel themed on the American Civil War, the work of former soldier Edward Payson Roe. Roe paints a picture of the War using the story of two young men, Hilland and Graham who are called up to service when the conflict starts. He explains, "It is time that sane men and women should be large-minded enough to recognize that, whatever may have been the original motives of political leaders, the people on both sides were sincere and honest; that around the camp-fires at their hearths and in their places of worship they looked for God's blessing on their efforts with equal freedom from hypocrisy. I have endeavored to portray the battle of Bull Run as it could appear to a civilian spectator: to give a suggestive picture and not a general description. The following war-scenes are imaginary, and colored by personal reminiscence. I was in the service nearly four years, two of which were spent with the cavalry…"