My daily chores continue today, as they always do,
Me and my brother feed the animals and hunt for food.
For months, rumors of war and rebellion filter through,
Father and my brother show a strange attitude.
As we sit in the woods, waiting for an animal to come,
I turn to my brother, wondering what he’ll say.
Quietly, I ask him where his anger is coming from,
He replies, “They have no right!”, and remains quiet the rest of the day.
Still not understanding, I later try to talk to dad,
I ask, “Why should we try to force those states to stay?”
Starring at me for a moment, my father just looks sad,
His reply, “We can’t break the union, there’s just no other way!”
While I slept that night, I tried to understand why,
Why should we judge how others should live their lives?
Thinking about the government telling Virginia how to live or die,
Causes such a feeling of disgust, it’s like being stabbed with hot knives.
The next morning, a post rider approaches the main house,
Among the stack, a letter of intent to leave the union.
As my father reads the letter, everyone is as quiet as a mouse,
When he finishes, my brother shouts, “Fight or run, pick one!”
Looking up in surprise, I realize he’s looking at me,
“Why would you say that?” I ask with fear.
His reply, “I know you agree with that crap, and you have sympathy!”
And I see all his respect for me fall in a single tear.
Knowing I’m no longer welcome, I pack and leave that day,
My mother cried, but my father and brother wouldn’t even look at me.
I could hear my mother shouting, “There must be another way!”
But knowing I’m no longer welcome, I left, hoping to help Virginia be free.
I could never have realized what I was getting myself in to,
As I grabbed a musket and received my orders.
My first battle, at Fredericksburg, was tough to get through,
As we valiantly protected our northern border.
But as we drove the Yankees back, I was shocked,
For one of my own shots has taken down my own father.
I was hurting so bad; it felt like my lungs were locked,
And as they retreated, I heard the cries of my brother.
I was scared; I couldn’t believe what was happening to me,
I was fighting against the people I loved and grew with.
Feeling trapped, my father’s death is all I could see,
Recalling stories in the bible, ones I thought were just myth.
It hurt so bad, remembering the stories my father would tell,
As he tucked me into bed at home, every night.
As I remember the story of brothers that fought and fell.
Just to prove their ideas were the ones that were right.
Helping move the injured from the field of battle,
And collecting the muskets and supplies from the dead.
Watching them move the prisoners like they were cattle,
As I wrapped a small cut I sustained on my head.
For the next two months, I was involved in many fights,
As we pushed our way north of the Potomac.
I know eventually my brother will again be in my sights.
And that very thought always made me feel sick.
Fight after fight, we pushed our way through,
And the freedom of Virginia seemed set in stone.
Our rights are being protected with everything we do,
As we prepare to kick Lincoln off his throne.
Even as we march north, I sense urgency in our ranks,
For rumors of a major battle has begun up ahead.
Unprepared and worried, we double our march along the river banks,
Exhausted from the long march, our bodies scream for a bed.
But soon, the sounds of cannons fill our ears,
As we’re told to form a line near a field.
As we form up, we hear echoes of soldiers’ cheers,
Because of our General Lee, the commander that would never yield.
But with the orders that were given to me,
I wonder what will this day bring to our goal.
Because our target is so far, we can barely see,
And the open field will surely take its toll.
With yells of victory, the first groups head out,
Hearing their commanders give words of courage.
Even at this great distance, the enemy cannons drowned out every shout,
Unsympathetically killing, no matter the rank or age.
Finally, it’s our turn to march across the open field,
A group of trees on the other end is our goal to reach.
Our orders are to never back down, to never yield,
What a terrible lesson they’re about to teach.
Even as the cannon fire and shots ring out,
I can’t help but wonder where my brother might be.
If I got close enough, would he answer to my shout?
Or does he hate me so much, that he would simply kill me.
Soon I will know, for I’ve reached a wooden fence,
As I jump over, I feel pebbles smack against my face.
For a cannonball hit the ground, making things go tense,
I watch in horror as bodies fly by, face expressions set in place.
By now, more than half my group is wiped out,
And for the first time, I hear cries for us to retreat.
“We must push forward”, I hear the commander shout,
But just as he finishes, a musket shot knocks him off his feet.
With our commander possibly dead, everyone flees,
Except for a few of us that continue to push ahead.
But suddenly, a sharp impact forces me to my knees,
For a moment, I surely thought I was dead.
It wasn’t until a cannon shot rang in my ears,
That I was able to force my eyes open.
I felt wetness on my face that wasn’t my tears,
I frantically looked around to see what I can.
But my body was so heavy, I couldn’t move,
And all I could feel was pain in my head.
I could tell that I’d fallen into some kind of grassy groove.
And as I lay there, I know soon I will be dead.
As I feel myself fading in the smoke and grass,
I see figures hovering over me strangely distorted.
Suddenly, I notice a large dark mass,
Lifting me off the lawn, I feel fully supported.
Hearing a voice that sounds strangely familiar,
Telling me that everything will be alright.
The feeling in the voice is very peculiar,
I hear sadness as he tells me to hold on tight.
As he continues to talk, I realize who it is,
My brother has come to take me back.
Thinking of my family and all the happy times I miss,
As I slowly feel my body going slack.
The last words I hear my brother say,
Are the words, “I’m sorry” echoing with sadness.
But now it’s too late, my body has slipped away,
And all his pain is lost to madness.
My family is broken, and all is now lost,
For the true outcome of war is never decided.
History shows us the terrible cost,
When we fall on sides divided.