Friday, January 25, 2008

Fiction Friday

My mom is from Savannah and my dad is from Pittsburgh. I remember being told as a kid that 4 grand fathers were at Gettysburg. 2 from the north and 2 from the south. One from each side was killed there (over 50,000 men died in that battle alone). The one remaining for the south was taken prisoner and spent the remainder of the war in upstate New York. When the war ended he walked home to Savannah. Since they could not trust anyone to tell the truth about owning a horse, they let all of the horses go too. When he got home, his horse had made the trip too.

This is in no way what happened, just my minds eye of things that could have happened.



The diary of Mark Q. Pendleton - 3rd Day of July 1863rd year of our Lord.

I awoke today at first light my heart was heavy and visions were strong in my head. I usually write about my days adventures here at the completion of the day. Today, it seems, my nights adventures are so strong that I am impelled to write this morning.

More than a dream, this is what happened... where I was last night.


Cool damp first morning air rushes through my nostrils and into my lungs. Birds are singing and a light breeze rustles the leaves. As I exit my tent others are stirring, fat back is being fried and fills the air with a fleeting glimpse of home. One mans leftovers from the night before find use in another mans belly this morning. Almost no one is talking.

Quickly, before any man is ready, we are called to task and form our ranks. We walk, resolute in our decision and head out onto the field. A fog remains, lines are blurred and the shout ‘ready’ is heard. We in the front line drop to our knees, we wait, frozen in anticipation. ‘Aim’, my heart pounds in my chest and I close one eye. Each man picks another that is straight in across from him. ‘FIRE!!’ Explosions rain and fire jumps from every direction.

I feel as if I am falling. All of the explosions and fire from just moments ago are silent. There is nothing.

I can taste the darkness, feel it, hear it. There is no seeing.
There is nothing.

When will it end....

“Oh GOD, it hurts!!! Please, someone HELP ME!!!”
“Jesus, save me!! What have I done??!”
“Momma, PLEASE make it stop!!!”

The shrieks of men, calling on Jesus... calling for their mothers. This desperate,, screaming the last breaths of men first breaks my darkness.

My eyes slowly open as I labored to lift my head. The bright July sun was cooling; the warmth of it seemed to escape me. All I could lift was my head, I did not have the strength or will to sit up. I could see a field covered with men. As far as I could see. Yankees, Confederate Soldiers, some in uniform, some still in their farm overalls.

Cold. I could swear there was no sun. Death, was everywhere. This was a dead field, I was laying in a dead field. I screamed, “I’m not dead!!” as the words echoed in my head, I realized I was standing... next to a Confederate soldier that looked just like... it was me. I was dead.

The cold reality brought me back to my knees. I cried like a young boy into my hands. How much time passed I could not say. Once I regained myself and began to look around I could see the man laying before me... I had been shot in the shoulder. Ribs protruding, red soaked flesh of my insides lay exposed. My arm was missing. Torn out by the impact. I had been hit directly by cannon fire.

Laying next to me was a Yankee, part of his head was missing, he had been shot in the head.

I began lifting, raising into the air. I was flying, free. I could see everything.

The green field was covered by crashing waves of blue and gray. Every man bled crimson and the tide washed the field till neither white nor black or Yankee nor confederate or blue nor gray could be discerned.

I passed through the clouds and my view was slowly covered. My view of the field and all humanity went black.


5th day of August 1863rd year of our Lord.
(I have added the following this day)

News has reached us today of Matthew’s death. A letter only.

“Dear Sir or Madame, we regret to inform you that your son Matthew B. Pendleton has died in battle. At Gettysburg Pennsylvania, on or about the 3rd of July 1863.

Your service and sacrifice to the Confederate cause has been appreciated.”

No signature, no name, nothing. I can still hear mother, shut in her room, crying.

As I reflect back on the images I saw that morning, I can see now it was Matthew. I knew he had died. But he was telling me something, to join or not to join the cause, I am not sure but join I have. I am sure mother did not hear me when I told her I have joined the militia and I leave tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Wow, just keeps getting really can write! :)