Emerging Writers. Historical Fiction Part 3, by Mary Ann DiLorenzo
Journeying Back to What Used to Be, Part 3.
“I surely did see the world,” Johnny mused as he kept working on the place he still called home, what was left of it, “and I won’t ever be wantin’ to see it again.” He often wondered now, since being home, how they could all run off so happily to war, war with those Yanks. The industrialized North of the country had more money, more guns, more men. What were us Southern boys thinking? “We lost the war before it even started,” he grumbled to himself, “why didn’t we want to see it?”
Meanwhile, the train to war from all those years ago, with all those Southern hero boys aboard rattled over the tracks again in Johnny’s memory. He was back at Manassas in the summer of ’61, the Yanks called it Bull Run. It was hot, the smoke was so thick he couldn’t see two feet in front of him, but he kept firing when they told him to fire, forward always forward, then retreat, retreat, forward again and on it went, so tired, but still he went on. Once he turned to ask his life-long friend how he was holding up, but his friend was no longer beside him and Johnny never saw him again.
“That dadburned war,” Johnny muttered looking back, “Best forget it already. I’ve got more to do here than I know what to do with.” His family was all gone now, though it wasn’t much to begin with. His father had left when Johnny was a boy, farming wasn’t for him he had said, he wanted to see the world just like his boy so many years after him. That left Johnny and his mother and a bunch of field hands to run the place. They didn’t keep slaves, didn’t believe in it, place too small anyway. Johnny often wondered what happened to his father and if his mother knew she never said. There had been too much work to do to spend much time thinking about it, he reckoned.
Stonewall earned his name on Henry Hill that July day at Manassas, the Confederates routed the Union and the stage was set for four long years of war. It wasn’t going to be a picnic for the Union after all, despite all they had wanted to believe.
Follow this Civil War Story About Going Home.