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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Shattered Silence
By Ruth Neilson
09/11/07


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It was a beautiful morning. The darkened sky was just beginning to reveal the first hints of a sunrise. Streams of red and orange filled the sky, illuminating a small squadron of blue clad soldiers. The slowly emerging sun gave a hint of warm to their chilled cheeks. Young men, barely adults, carefully patrolled, knowing that there could be rebel soldiers hiding in the thicket.

Jeremiah and his squad of Union soldiers had received the orders to patrol the western banks of the Tennessee River. They could never be too careful.

“Careful now, boys; we don’t want no rebels to get us this morning.” His captain muttered, leveling the musket on his shoulder. The dew kissed ground was cold. It seeped into their leather shoes. The woolen blue uniform pants were soaking in water, and seeped it into their skin.

Jeremiah wasn’t even eighteen yet. He was one of the many sixteen year old boys who wrote the number ‘eighteen’ on a piece of paper and stood on it, so he was ‘over eighteen’.

He shivered as they walked through another open field.

War wasn’t supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be about becoming a hero—saving the union and bringing the rebellious states back into the fold of the Union.

So far, no sign of those rebels--maybe it was meant to be a calm patrol. Jeremiah held up his hand and the group came to a stop.

They could hear footsteps from the opposite side of the field, a snapping of a dry branch underfoot.

Dear Lord, please let it be some of our own boys.

Jeremiah prayed, knelling in the wet grass.

A flash of gunpowder hovered in the air as a spinning musket ball shattered the silence. A sea of Gray, the rebels swarmed from the trees and Jeremiah ran. He had to alert his commander before everyone was taken by surprise.

Shiloh’s peace was shattered.

----
On April 6-7, 1862 the Battle of Shiloh raged at Shiloh, Tennessee on the farm lands surrounding the Tennessee River. A Union patrol stumbled upon the Confederates, surprising them and the battle began. In total, 3,477 men died those two days. I do not know the patrol member’s names that stumbled upon the Confederate encampment, but this is written for those brave men.


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This article has been read 527 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marylea Monroe09/13/07
Nice tribute to American history. I love the line about being over 18. I've never heard that one before, it brought a nice chuckle to a serious situation.
dub W09/13/07
Well written, well documented, albeit a bit short.
Patty Wysong09/14/07
Great attention to detail and descriptions! I hadn't heard about the 'over 18'--I can see boys doing that! Great job!
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
What a masterful way of capturing one tiny little moment in history!
Dee Yoder 09/18/07
It's easy to forget that the long ago war involved real people, real US citizens, fighting each other. Your story captures very well a small moment of that important conflict.
Jacquelyn Horne09/19/07
I love Civil War stories. Thanks for sharing your perspective here. I wish it was longer.