Dust rises from the rutted road. Cannon laden caissons rumble slowly forward. A red sun competes with the campfires glow. Weary troops break camp, joining the ranks of colleagues on the move. An enemy, unseen, lays before them, waiting to exact a deadly blow.

Bellowed orders cut through the hushed encampment, bugles sound, urgency pervades. Battle lines are drawn, men marching, resolve and fear etched upon their hearts.

Artillery from behind sing the opening anthem. Flashes on the horizon acknowledging their song. In quickstep they press toward the waiting army, searching til they face the long gray line.

A fusillade rips through the forward soldiers, leaving death and carnage in its wake. A row of men drop in lines of destruction, their cries of pain soon muted by the battles call. Panicked faces seek cover as their Captains yell and threaten, urging them on.

Deadly canisters scream overhead, delivering their fingers of death, Fragments of life left littering the field. “Close ranks” the Captain cries. “Rally round the colors.” In the face of death the army presses onward, drummer boys with smoke blackened faces and hollow eyes, beating cadence on their drums.

Smoke and bodies soon consume the landscape, fragments of lives lost, attesting to the horrors of the day. On and on the contest rages. Giving, taking, winning, losing, dying, until welcome darkness cloaks the field of battle, forcing war to take a short respite

In darkened fields, litter bearers rummage through a broken army. Seeking those whose ravaged bodies won’t surrender, selecting those who might still have a chance.

Hot tears run down the face of hardened soldiers, gripped by a mix of anger, fear and sorrow. Mourning for the sons and brothers taken. Respecting those that they must leave behind.

It is but a beginning. A scene to be replayed so many times. Our nation would become a blood soaked homeland. Each army sure that the Lord was on their side.

Conflict would leave its scars, destroying in an effort to unite. A terrible price would be exacted. With the lives of many men it would be paid.
The War Between The States officially ended April 9, 1865. The conflict cost 624,000 lives.



About oldmainer

I am retired and live in southern Maine with my wife and two dogs of questionable origin. I created this blog as an outlet for my occasional opinions and random observations since my wife is tired of hearing them and, after 50 some odd years, probably with good reason. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Death, Faith, Fear, History, Life, Military, Narrative, War and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to 1861

  1. An incredibly evocative piece of writing.


  2. great piece – I’m a CW buff with an extensive library, but my favorite book is Battle Cry of Freedom by McPherson


  3. A good piece Bob. Now and then I think about wars like this and wonder how the world would be today if the south had won. It would have changed the world political map for a long time afterwards.


    • oldmainer says:

      Me too. Like would the US be one country, or two.


      • I read a novel on the subject and because of the European involvement with the south, it changed the balance of power between England and France. England boosted its forces in Canada and ousted the French. The north lost its industrial base. Due to the continuing turmoil the Indian Nations combined and took over the western states. (with international help) This of course changed the world political map and made for an extremely interesting read.


  4. oldmainer says:

    Wow Laurie, that is fascinating. Dare I ask if you could remember the novel. It sounds like something I would enjoy reading.


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