Emerging Writers: New Historical Fiction by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be.
The late spring of 1865 was warm and rainy as he traveled on his way back home. After four years of fighting those Yanks, he somehow remained relatively unscathed. The wound where the bayonet grazed his temple had begun to scar over and his injured left shoulder would never be the same, but he figured he would be able to farm again without much trouble. And he was heading home.
He fought with Stonewall, witnessed Pickett's Charge with pride on that afternoon in Gettysburg and he was there at Appomattox when Lee bid farewell to the men, close enough to see the tears in Lee's eyes as Lee turned from them and rode away. The war was over.
Yes, it was over and he was headed home. It was a long way to Georgia, but all the long marches of four long years made it feel effortless and he was going home! His farm was off the beaten path somewhere between Atlanta and Savannah. Sherman had been through there, he knew, and after all he had seen, he prepared himself for more as he tramped through the rain, getting closer, ever closer to home.
It was still early enough in the season to get a crop in, his shoulder would probably hold up and he just might be lucky enough to find his life again, as it used to be, all those years before the war. "Lord," he thought to himself, "seems a lifetime ago."
As he made that last turn toward home, he caught his breath. He wasn't prepared after all - everything was gone, burned to the ground. Just like for so many others, all that used to be was gone. "Those dadburned Yankees," he growled out loud. "Well, best get started puttin' things back together." And for the first time in days, the rain stopped.