‘Union Bound’ is in theaters Feb. 12 (Photo: Facebook)
In today’s morally confused world, many Americans have lost faith in the honor and integrity of their own country. Now one filmmaker wants to use the true story of one honorable American from long ago to bring back a sense of American pride.
“It seems to me, from what I read and what I see in my own personal life, it’s like we’ve lost some of that patriotism that we once were known for,” said Michael Davis, president of Uptone Pictures. “And I’m not saying it’s not there. I just want to bring it back to the forefront.”
Davis continued, “It seems like we’ve lost this notion that we’re great and we’re an honorable country. And I think Joseph Hoover’s character is one of honor and integrity.”
Joseph Hoover is the main character in the forthcoming movie “Union Bound,” set to hit theaters Feb. 12. The film tells the true story of Hoover, a Union soldier in the Civil War who was captured and imprisoned. He then found his way to freedom with the help of freed slaves. A companion book by WND Books, “Union Bound: He Went to War to Free the Slaves But Was Freed by Them,” will be in stores on May 2, 2016.
Davis, who produced and co-directed the movie, said he was attracted to this project because he is a history buff, and the Civil War was such a paramount moment in American history. He noted people still celebrate the anniversaries of various Civil War battles today, and some Americans even re-enact battles.
Thousands of Civil War re-enactors help with filming of battle scene in ‘Union Bound’ (Photo: Facebook)
Americans also still vigorously debate the Confederate flag, which is a remnant of the Civil War.
The Joseph Hoover story in particular jumped out at Davis as movie material because Hoover’s diary from 1864 is still around.
“I was able to read that diary, and it’s a fascinating account,” Davis told WND. “He wasn’t a super prolific writer, but he was very consistent, and I think a lot of it was to count the days or to pass the time or to keep him sane. … He talks about all these moments – where he was at and things that he saw – and so that immediately was something different.”
Davis said he was interested in telling the story of the Civil War through the eyes of this ordinary soldier who has not yet been mythologized by history.
“You kind of get the sentiment of this one guy – he’s not the general, he’s not the big Abraham Lincoln decision maker, he’s just one of the guys that’s in the trench going to war,” Davis said. “And what kind of captivated my interest was the fact that this was more of a human story than it was about the battles. It was really about the time, what was happening in 1864 on a day-to-day basis.”
According to Davis, Hoover was a farmer from Utica, New York, where he most likely didn’t interact much with black people. Hoover, like President Lincoln, fought the war not necessarily because he wanted to end slavery, but because he wanted to preserve the Union.
Hoover fought in the Battle of the Wilderness near Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Confederate forces captured him. They took him to Andersonville, a notorious prison camp. He was later transferred to a new stockade in Florence, South Carolina, from which he and a friend were able to escape because the stockade hadn’t been fully constructed yet.
The two escaped through the back of a hospital into the forest, but they did not know where they were. They eventually stumbled onto a plantation, where they ran into Jim Young, a slave whom Davis called “the hero of this whole story.” Young saved Hoover and his friend by directing them to the Underground Railroad, which they used to get to the Union army’s central command in the South, located in North Carolina.
Davis said Hoover underwent a transformation as a result of his ordeal. After his imprisonment in the South and interaction with slaves, the Northerner came to understand what slavery was all about. Incidentally, Hoover actually made two journeys to freedom over the course of the film.
“The story is not only a journey to freedom physically from the South, but a journey to freedom of his own understanding of what the world was all about,” Davis explained.
Davis noted that Hoover showed his honor and integrity after he escaped from captivity. At that point, having survived a harrowing experience, he could have simply gone home and quit fighting in the war. But instead, he returned to the Union army. He knew he had sworn an oath to see the war through to the end, and he intended to keep his oath.
Davis believes Hoover set a good example for contemporary Americans, and he hopes viewers will adopt the former Union soldier’s values.
“I think society today, when we make an oath or we make a promise or we make an agreement, many times it’s just laughed off,” Davis said. “For me, from that perspective, I just want the viewer to walk away with this notion that we need to recapture or reignite those emotions of honor and integrity and the pursuit of liberty and justice and these core values of our society that I think as of late have been shoved aside.
“But I also want people to have a good time watching a movie!”