Soldier’s Life. A memoir.
I worked in the farming industry for several years, with my wife Sarah behind me with all that I did. My two sons accompanied me in my endeavors to keep the farm up and running. Rowland, who was 16 at the time, helped with milking the cows and making sure all the animals got fed on time. As well as milking and feeding he was in charge of cleaning up after the animals and his younger brother of course. James, who was 10 at the time, didn’t really help much. He stayed off to the sidelines helping Sarah gather food for supper each night. Myself, being a middle-aged man in his 30s, was at my prime. I considered myself as one of the most athletically fit person in the small Northern town of Calamine, Massachusetts.
One day around dusk Sarah and James came running from the gravel road off to the southwest of the farm yelling and hollering that I needed to go to the post office in town as soon as I could. “What are you talking about?” I asked them in a confused voice. James blubbered with tears filled in his eyes, “They are going to send you away to fight in the war papa!” As soon as I head that I readied my great horse and stormed into town when several of the local men were gathered. A bunch of them were protesting that there was “no way in hell we are leaving our families to serve in a war” in which they had no interest. With many of them in such an outrage they decided to avoid the law and skip town that night. Romulus Scott, the richest man in town had a plan to bribe his neighboring household for one of their sons to take his place. Seeing that the boy’s family didn’t have very much to live on, they accepted. I left town and headed back to the farm. I told the boys that there was no need to worry about me. “I will be back before you know it!” I sent them off to bed and sat Sarah down to explain what will need to happen when I was gone.
The next day while I was heading back into town, I heard gun shots ringing from the distance. Some of the men from the previous night, the ones that hadn’t skipped town, were lying dead on the ground with a War General holding a gun above their bodies. “These men, ladies and gentlemen, are a nuisance to the law. Protesters against the law will have the same fate bestowed onto them. If anyone else would like to question the authority of the Union, you may see to my revolver. No? Let’s get started.” The General for the Union was to make sure that a sufficient amount of men from each state. He also said that anyone who was tried to flee will be found and forced through extreme physical labor. “Since you are being drafted into the American Civil war, you will be getting a monthly pay of thirteen dollars. Along with the money you will have to go through training. We will be heading out tomorrow. Pack very little; you will only be allowed one duffle bag. Say goodbye to your families and be here at 0500 sharp.”
The next morning came and as I left the house James, Rowland, and Sarah...