Dan took off his hand and ran a hand through his sweat-soaked hair. "Why does it get this hot so early in the morning?" he asked and wiped the sweat from his hands. Summer was sneaking up on the camp, and soon, we would all feel the wrath of the hot weather once more.
Joe said sheepishly, "Well, Dan, we are still in the South." Somehow I felt that Joe knew that Dan's question wasn't meant to be answered, but he must have felt an obligation to say something. Dan shot Joe a curt look, causing the shaggy-blonde to turn away and mutter an apology.
I caught a glimpse of Grant speaking with one of his higher-ranking soldiers. Our General held a letter in his hands, and shook his head. "Wonder what's going on this time," I said aloud. Dan and Joe turned and saw what I was talking about.
"No clue," Dan said while waving his hand in front of his face in order to cool himself down. Even from the distance I was at, I could see that Grant appeared to be stressed; which, wasn't anything new. Anyone that had taken on the job and responsibilties that he had, would have probably looked the same way.
Grant shook his head once more, handed the letter back to the soldier, and same something to him. The soldier saluted the General and turned on his heels before he walked off. I wanted to know what was going on, but I doubted that Grant would have told anyone the contents of the letter.
So, I would have to settle for not knowing. Dan laid down on his head and shielded his eyes from the sun with his arm. "I feel like I'm going to die," he said. Joe and I exchanged a look at each other, and I chuckled. Dan glanced up at me and asked, "What's so funny?"
I grinned, closed my eyes, and shook my head. "You're such a drama queen at times." Joe snickered, and when Dan shot him a glare, he proceeded to act as though he had done nothing. I leaned my back against one of the poles that held up a tent and closed my eyes.
Joe was sitting on the ground across from me, propping himself up with his hands. Dan was still laid out on the ground and over exaggerating the extent of the heat. But overall, it was somewhat calm. The common misconception of war, was fighting at all times of the day, but things were fairly calm since the war started.
In fact, some soldiers had only been in one battle since this whole thing started. Who would have thought that war could be peaceful? A soldier approached the tent that the three of us were sitting in front of. When I opened my eyes to look at him, I saw that it was oily-haired lackey that used to hang around Jones all the time; that was before Jones betrayed his own army, among other things.
I wasn't complaining about it though. It was nice to be able to walk around the camp without running into that fool. But since Jones left, his gang seemed to be lost as of late. They acted like they didn't know what to do anymore, as if they had no purpose.
I found it strange that one's purpose was to cause trouble to others, but everyone had their own forte, right? The oily-haired soldier stood there and said, "Some of the others need some help moving around the ammunition crates, and we could really use a few extra sets of hands."
The three of us glanced at one another, then back at him. "Fine," I said with a sigh. "I'll help out. What about you two?" Dan shook his head and said, "It's too hot. I think I'll stay here in the shade. You're more than welcome to go and do some manual labor, Shun."
I rolled my eyes and turned to Joe. "What about you?" I asked. He shrugged and told me, "I guess I could try and help move a few crates." The oily-haired man nodded and said, "Follow me then." Joe and I got up, leaving Dan behind us so he could he lay in the shade, rather than helping us out.
As we walked towards the ammunition tent, Joe and I finally found out what the oily-haired man's name. He told us it was Mathis, and apologized for never giving proper introduction. I stared at this man, completely dumbfounded in his sudden change in personality.
Not long ago, he had been trying to harm Alice, and looked to be like one of the sleeziest people you'd ever meet. Now, he acted as if he were civilized. Maybe Jones leaving was better for the camp than I could have ever thought. Joe and I stopped walking when we reached the ammunition tent.
Soldiers were passing crates down from the tent like a well-oiled machine. The wooden boxes passed from person to person, and stopped way down the line in a large pile of neatly stacked crates. Joe asked, "So, why is everything being moved?"
Mathis crossed his arms over his chest and told us, "Somebody said that Grant wanted an inventory check. Another told me that he was planning on sending some of the extra ammo over to Joseph Hooker's army since they're in the middle of a battle and need it. I don't know which is the real reason, and I see no point in asking the General. So, start helping us move crates."
Joe and I exchanged a quick look at each other, then followed Mathis over to the tent. He passed a crate to me, and in turn, I passed it down to Joe. "These are a lot heavier than I thought they were," Joe said when placing the crate down.
They were somewhat heavy, but Joe had hardly any upper body strength, so I had a feeling that they weighed a lot more to him than they did to me. As we continued to pass down crates, I said to Mathis, "You mentioned something about there being another battle taking place now?"
He nodded and handed me another crate of ammo. "Yeah. It's somewhere near Chancellorsville up in Virginia. Grant got a letter about it sometime today. The two armies have been fighting for almost ten days straight now. Ha-ha. Guess we should see ourselves as lucky. Because I know I sure wouldn't want to be in that mess."
I now knew what the contents were of that letter that Grant received earlier. But a battle that had been going on for ten days? After becoming accustomed to two or three day long battles, ten days sounded like it would feel like ages before an end came.
"Is there any word on who's winning so far?" I asked. Joe was standing behind me, listening intently as Mathis began to speak. "The word is that the Confederacy is kicking Hooker into the ground. That's all I know," he told us. I passed one of the last crates to Joe.
He was about to take it, but the wooden box slipped through his hands and broke apart on the ground. He stepped back and began to apologize. "Oh, I'm sorry. My hands just couldn't hold another one." He held out his hands, which were red and covered with splinters.
Musket balls of all sizes were scattered around on the ground and mixed in with the broken crate. "It's alright, Joe," I told him. Mathis was able to get another crate as it passed by, and he began to fill it with the spilled ammo. Joe was sitting on the ground, picking the splinters from his palms.
As Mathis got the last of the ammunition into the new crate, he said to Joe, "You aren't very tough, are you?" Joe looked up at him, then down at his raw hands. Mathis chuckled and asked, "How have you made it this far into the war, kid?"
Joe stood up up and told him, "Luck and some really good people that look out for me." Mathis chuckled again and picked up the crate. As he began to carry it off, he said, "We'll see how much farther that will get ya. Thanks for the help, though."
At the pile of crates, Grant was counting the boxes. He shouted, "Alright! This is enough! Get them to the train station and have them shipped off to Hooker and his army!" Joe rubbed his hands together and said under his breath, "I think I see why Jones and Mathis were 'friends.'"
I nodded and told Joe, "Yeah. I see what you mean." Jones and Mathis, both had that arrogant quality about them that made them easy to hate. Now that our work was done, Joe and I left the ammunition tent and went back to where we had left Dan.
I was hunkered down in a ditch, trying my best to reload my gun as quickly as I could. This battle had stretched out for almost over a week now, but it felt much longer; it had even gone into the night a couple of times. A Union soldier jumped down into the ditch with me, and shouted as he tried to stab me with the bayonet that was fixed at the end of his rifle.
It missed my throat, and stuck into the dirt beside me. The soldier's eyes were wide with fear and panic; it was possible that he no longer knew what he was doing. I snapped back into focus and resumed to try and reload a musket ball into the rifle.
By this time, the soldier had freed his bayonet and was about to strike again, but a bullet hit him in his side, sending a steady flow of blood coming out of his blue and gold jacket. The soldier stood there for a moment, before finally collapsing onto the ground.
I backed up and began to look around. My eyes then found Jones lowering a rifle, the end of the barrel smoking hot. A couple of months ago, our General decided to accept the ex-Union soldier into our camp, and now, I felt like it had been a good choice.
That Yankee soldier could have just killed me if it hadn't been for Jones' accuracy. The shelling became less frequent, which could have only meant the the Union's ammunition supplies were starting to run low. A smile crossed my face as I felt another victory coming our way.
I stayed low in the ditch as I finally got a round loaded into the rifle. Cautiously, I peered out of the ditch and aimed at a man in a blue and gold uniform. When I fired, smoke and spark exploded from the barrel, and the soldier fell over shortly after.
I slipped back into the ditch and started to load another round. I stopped when a think, red liquid dripped on my hand from somewhere above. When I looked up, I saw that Jones had stabbed a Union soldier with his bayonet, and the body had collapsed right at the mouth of the ditch.
He pulled the bayonet out of the solider's back. He then ran off towards the thick of the battle. I sat there and stared up at the limp body for a moment before jumping back into the battle. After another day, Hooker's army surrendered and began to retreat.
The eleven day battle finally came to an end, leaving behind more casualities than a normal two day battle. But the death toll didn't matter as much as the fact that we had won yet another battle. Even though the Union had a few more up on us, we had greatly damaged their numbers.
I caught sight of Jones as he walked around the battlefield, picking up dead soldiers. He didn't look the least bit bothered by the fact that he had killed people from the army he had once been loyal to. Perhaps, that was a good thing.
well, i was close when i said that i would be working on this chapter till 2 in the afternoon (that was at about 12). it wouldnt have been so difficult if i werent tired and had other things. on my mind. but do vote on my poll if you havent done so already (it will be closed at the end of the month). so, if you want your opinion heard, vote. if not, then don't whine at me if a title is chosen that you don't like. i'm doing what the majority wants. read, review, and other things. ~Copperpelt~