Silence reigned. Emily Addison's heart pounded as she realized that the horrific sounds of battle had died away in the morning stillness. The night before had been a nightmare. Huddled in her cellar, Emily had clutched a picture of her husband and three sons. She had remembered their tearful farewells two years ago when all four left to fight for the Confederacy. Now it was morning, and the sounds of fighting had ceased sometime during her restless night.
Emily rose from her cramped position to go discover the result of the scrimmage. As she climbed the stairs, she worried about what might be lying right outside her door. Thoughts ran through her head, “Is my family out there ...view middle of the document...
There she found one of her closest friends, Sarah Cunningham, taking charge of the group. As Emily drew near to the group, she heard Sarah say, “...care of our own men first, then if we have room we will take care of the Yankees.” At hearing this, Emily bristled at the thought of any man or boy lying in the warming sun with no cover over his head. She wanted to protest, but she knew that she would be downed with every suggestion at taking care of anyone that was the enemy. She decided then and there that she would take care of whomever she pleased.
As soon at the meeting was over, Emily headed straight toward the man who was the closest to her. Seeing him there wrenched her heart, because she knew that he heard that no one would take care of him for a while. As she knelt beside the man, she wondered how soon it would take for Sarah to realize what she was doing. As she made the man comfortable, Sarah walked up, obviously angry. “I know we are close friends, but I would like to know what you are doing. I said that we would take care of our men first, not the other way around.”
Emily knew this was the time to stand up for what was right. She rose from helping the wounded and with emotion said, “I know that most of the world would say I was wrong, but I know that if my boys or my husband were in a field somewhere dying with no one to care and love them like I do, I would be very bitter. I want to show these men and boys, who have mothers, sweethearts, wives back home, love like they were back home. I want to care for them like they were my own, regardless of their uniform.”
Sarah was left speechless. She was not sure what to say for a moment. Then in a rush of energy, she gave Emily a piece of her mind, “I am not helping you. You are a traitor. You will get no help from us! You will get none of our supplies. By the way our friendship has ended.” With that, Sarah stormed off to help the other women of the town.
With eyes full of tears, Emily went back to help the man at her feet. The man looked up at her with tears in his eyes and with great difficulty moaned a heartfelt thank you. That thank you gave the gentle Emily a new determination to save men that had no one there to help them.
Throughout the afternoon, Emily worked. She worked by herself. No one joined her in the effort to help everyone. The whole town seemed to have shunned her. Several times during the day, Emily was told she should just leave town and go where she was appreciated. Townswoman after townswoman came to her and in blunt words told she should just forget about ever seeing her family again, because they would not want a traitor for a mother or a wife.
The day continued on. By evening, everyone was exhausted. Suddenly a scream split the air. Everyone ran in the direction of the scream. ...