Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer in Gettysburg by Laurie Calkhoven

I realized in trying to come up with something for the summer theme that weather rarely plays a role in my books. Unless it's an extreme weather situation, I don't mention weather.  But here's a short piece from WILL AT THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG, 1863:

   About ten thirty, more infantry soldiers marched down Washington Street, heading for the battle. I had forgotten all about going home. Instead I perched on the plank fence around Mrs. Eyster's Young Ladies Seminary to cheer them on.

   Their uniforms were the thickest kind of wool. Most men had wool blankets and knapsacks belted to their backs. Cartridge boxes and canteens hung over their shoulders. They had been caught in the rain and dripped water and sweat in the hot July weather.

   They marched on the double-quick through rows of townspeople handing them cake and bread with apple butter and water. The men would grab a tin cup, drink, and fling it back as they ran.

   They didn't have the easy confidence of the cavalry from the day before. These men were headed into battle. We could hear the shells thundering, the muskets popping. Some of these men would die today. They knew it. Now I did, too.

   Officers urged the people to stop feeding them--we were slowing the soldiers down--but no one wanted to send them into battle without food and water and shouts of encouragement. It was the only thing we could do.

   "There are enough soldiers here to whip all the Rebs in the South," Albertus McCreary yelled.

   My stomach was beginning to fill with dread, but I pretended to share his excitement. "I bet the war ends today," I said. "And we'll win it!"


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