Back to Top

21.13.03 Bridges, David P., The Broken Circle, an historical novel published in 2013

Notes Concerning the Author

David P. Bridges, a historian, works as an Adjunct Professor of Writing at the University of Richmond, and has served 25 years as a Presbyterian minister.  He also serves as a Military Chaplain at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

Bridges’ area of expertise is 1850-1950 American history. His first non-fictional historical book, The Best Coal Company in All Chicago (2003), is about the Best family, coal industrialists and philanthropists who impacted Chicago’s history through the distribution of coal from 1908-1964. His second book, The Bridges of Washington County (2003), chronicles the Bridges family in Western Maryland, showing how industry, politics and conservation worked together to preserve the Woodmont Rod and Gun Club and their building of a silica sand mining corporation (1878-1969).  Bridges’ third book, Fighting with JEB Stuart: Major James Breathed and the Confederate Horse Artillery (2006), chronicles the life and Civil War trials and tribulations of Major James Breathed, Stuart Horse Artillery, C.S.A.  The Broken Circle is his fourth book and first Literary Historical novel.

Our Review

In this historical novel, the Civil War’s impact on Southern culture is depicted through the experience of a young physician turned warrior, Dr. James Breathed, a young Maryland physician, who served in the horse artillery and fought in many battles under the command of General J.E.B. Stuart. 

Professor and Historian David P. Bridges brings the story of Breathed—the author’s great, great uncle—to life in a historical novel, The Broken Circle. More than a saga on one man’s heroism, personal conflict and survival, it depicts the impact of the war on the agrarian culture of the South and its bedrock principles of faith in God, family values, hard work, community, self-government, and ethics. 

The battles, locations and dates in The Broken Circle are all historically correct. Professor Bridges accurately incorporates the details of the weapons, culture, language, clothes, food, and even the furniture of the Civil War period. The characters and their dedication to the South are based on real people, including Mollie Macgill, a woman romantically involved with Dr. Breathed. She becomes a daring spy for the South.  Dr. Breathed exemplified the South’s efforts to preserve and fight for a cause they felt was just and the principles they believed America was founded upon.

“My intention is to shed some light on what was really happening to the South during this important period in American history,” says Bridges. “From the aristocracy to the common man their lives were destroyed along with the prosperity, spirituality and much of the charm of the Old South.” Bridges reports that General Robert E. Lee said of Major James Breathed, “He was the hardest fighting artillerist the South produced.”

By the way, after the war, Breathed returned to his medical practice and, before his death at age 32, treated all patients regardless of which side they supported during the conflict.  On July 3, 2013, he was posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor for his self-sacrificing bravery on the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield May 8th, 1864.

Availability of this Book

A paperback book of 362 pages by Resource Publications (ISBN: 978-1-62564-152-6), published in October 2013, The Broken Circle is available online at (as print book as as Kindle e-book), on the author’s website and wherever books are sold.

To view book on, click on the link below: 

To view David Bridges’ website, click on the link below: