The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, Vol. 1 (1861-62)

The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, Vol. 1
Drawn by Marek Bennett
5”x7” / 352 pages / color cover / b&w interior / +maps +reference images
PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-0-9824153-5-1
HARDCOVER ISBN: 978-0-9824153-6-8


Marek Bennett’s comics adaptation of this actual Civil War memoir brings to life the dry humor and grim conviction of teacher-turned-soldier Freeman Colby.
 Fiercely proud of his Granite State heritage, Freeman Colby bows to no one – not the rowdy students of his rural one-room schoolhouse, not the high-handed Union army officers in town, and certainly not those Rebel traitors causing all that trouble down South. But Colby needs work, and his ne’er-do-well little brother Newton needs looking after, so the boys enlist with a new regiment promising three years’ pay and plenty of adventure in a growing war…
Includes maps (1848 New England + 1862 Maryland), reference images & sources, and more.

BISAC Subject Codes:

  1. YAN025210 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
  2. YAN012020 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / History
  3. YAN012010 YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Biography

 @ | Book Details PDF | Sample Pages PDF | Episodes @ | …


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Dramatic reading, discussion, sketching + signing, with period banjo accompaniment! 




SAMPLE PDF (32 pages) >>


All artwork ©2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Marek Bennett

All rights reserved. No portion of this book (except small portions for review or non-commercial purposes) may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the artist. Parts of this book first appeared as episodes of the webcomic “Live Free And Draw” and “Stick Figure Civil War.”

Published by Marek

Cartoonist, musician, teacher.

Join the Conversation


    1. Sean ~ I certainly would love to draw more of Colby’s adventures. There are some surprises in store for Colby over the next few years, of course! ~ M

  1. Hello, my library (Hennepin County Library System) is the only library which owns one of your titles, “The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby” in Minnesota. I’m grateful they have it as I greatly enjoyed reading your book, (after I got past my initial reaction which was it was a stick figure and put in the teen section). I greatly admire that it was based on a real man’s life story. Thank you very much for researching his life and putting his story into print. I probably wouldn’t have read a historical novel based on his life written with a lot of words. If it were a 300 page or more tome with a few pictures. Yet you did an amazing job, after I read the story, I got past the stick figures and even loved them (such as Newton’s two teeth), of bringing not only Colby’s, yet his brother Newton and other people to life in your book. Thank you for writing it. I greatly enjoyed learning history in this manner (via a graphic novel). Wishing you all the best and I look forward to reading your novel about Slovakia (though I’m Bohemian/Czech, German and Polish). I love learning though I’m age 60, erk, that sounded a bit geeky. I look forward to your future endeavors. Also, please excuse me for being so wordy and long winded. Be well, Paul in Minnesota

    1. Paul ~ I appreciate your kind words, and your description of your reading experience. As an artist, I too had to “get past” some of the stigma around stick figures… but once I did, it became clear that this kind of “extreme cartooning” is really handy for historical work. Since the historical record often lacks ALL the details I need to draw a scene, I believe it’s more accurate to restrict visual details to the bare minimum that can be verified by primary sources. (For example — I’m reasonably sure Freeman Colby had four buttons on his regulation union wool shell coat, so I draw four dots on his torso. I don’t know what kind of footwear he wore (aside from his mention of big “boots”) so for the most part I don’t even draw him with shoes, but just stick feet.) If you are inspired to share your thoughts as a review at GoodReads, here is the link to FREEMAN COLBY’s listing: … Thanks! ~ M

  2. Hi Mr Bennet,
    My name is Jackson and I am 11 years old. I am big fan of your graphic novels about Freeman Colby I specifically enjoy how you depict Freeman Colby using a simple cartoon stick figure because you didn’t have any photos of him. My mother, Sarah Maloney, went to Henniker elementary school with you. I have watched three of your “how to draw” videos. Now I am working on a report on Freeman Colby. I am excited to red the next book. When do you think it will come out? Thanks for making the graphic novels.

    Your fan,
    Jackson graham

    1. Hi Jackson ~

      Thanks for your note! It’s great to hear from you & learn of your interest in Freeman Colby & his adventures.
      I am drawing VOLUME 3 now. The pages are all done ~ Well, 98% or so! This summer I’ll build the book (w/ the introduction & index & maps &c.), & draw all the color artwork for the cover & posters. That should be fun! We’ll have some new videos of that process too.

      If you want to see what VOL. 3 will look like, there are 2 ways:

      1. The VOL. 3 KICKSTARTER is happening this month here:
      2. OR join the Patreon here:

      I would love to see your report when you’re done. Maybe I can learn something from it! Let me know if you are ever able to find a photograph of Freeman Colby or Jonas Bacon. If you are in the Henniker area, their graves are also very interesting places to visit.

      Good luck in your research!
      Let me know if you have any questions.

      ~ Marek
      PS. Hi to your mom! (I think your Uncle may have been in my brother’s class…)

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