Held by the Enemy


Held by the Enemy
   This five-act melodrama by actor William Gillette opened on 16 August 1886 at the Madison Square Theatre for 70 performances. Regarded by critics as the first worthy play to deal with the Civil War , it depicts the capturing of a Confederate city by Northern forces. Federal Brigade Surgeon Fielding falls in love with Southerner Rachel McCreery despite the fact that she is the fiancée of Confederate Lieutenant Gordon Hayne. When Hayne is captured as a spy, Fielding is appointed judge in his trial. The resourceful Hayne escapes, but is wounded in the process. Pretending to be dead, Hayne is hidden by Rachel and her family. Fielding is not fooled, however, but agrees to allow Hayne's escape if Rachel will promise to marry him. Hayne does escape, but ultimately returns and forces Fielding to release Rachel from her promise. The play was popular in the American heartland. Producer Charles Frohman revived Held by the Enemy in 1910 with Gillette himself in the lead. A motion picture version was released in 1920.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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