The Last Rose of Summer

Dr. Francis Thornton was the seventh lineal male to bear that name, his father, Reverend Francis Thornton, being the sixth. It was assumed, or at least the younger Francis believed it was assumed, that he was to follow in his father’s steps into the presbytery. His father was a towering man—in body, spirit, and intellect.Continue reading “The Last Rose of Summer”

Petty Slights and Indignities

Huldah, bless her soul, was the first to let Mrs. Lewis know about the new arrivals. She didn’t mean it that way, but she gave them up nonetheless. Sergeant Lewis sent his wife to the other wing to collect more bandages, and when she reached the laundry, Huldah was pulling linens out of the boilingContinue reading “Petty Slights and Indignities”

She Cannot Forget You

Reverend Mrs. Clute carried a secret. Or rather, it was a secret growing inside her. To be clear, it was not her second child who was indeed growing inside her and becoming obvious to others. No, this baby boy was not her secret, and yes, she was certain it was a boy–she had had aContinue reading “She Cannot Forget You”

An Inside Joke by Me for Myself

The first time I saw the boy, he had soiled his pants, and I says to him, I says, “Boy, you done soiled your pants” and he says to me, “I ain’t the only one that done that–they was others who did it under fire at Perryville cuz we was all green,” and I says,Continue reading “An Inside Joke by Me for Myself”

The Virtue of Slaughter

Swift, blazing flag of the regiment, Eagle with crest of red and gold, These men were born to drill and die. Point for them the virtue of slaughter, Make plain to them the excellence of killing And a field where a thousand corpses lie. –Stephen Crane, “War is Kind” The table was covered in bloodContinue reading “The Virtue of Slaughter”

The Ballad of Johnny Mather Sloan

[Sing to the tune of the “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”] Young Johnny Mather Sloan Lived on the Texas range. Stole a horse when six years old; His brother thought him strange. Y’all never heard the tale of the boy soldier from the heart of Texas. Damn shame. That boy and his story are asContinue reading “The Ballad of Johnny Mather Sloan”

Angel Glow

As the light faded, so did the sound of artillery, and the musket fire was only sporadic. The sounds they had been masking all day now pierced the night–the moans, howls, screams, and curses. The man was sitting up against a tree, his left thigh useless from a wound, his right shoulder blade also immobileContinue reading “Angel Glow”

The Revelation

Mrs. Noland did not care much for the twelve apostles. Of course, she never told anyone that–how could you? But if you’re honest, you’d have to admit the apostles didn’t measure up too often. Here’s Peter sinking under the water because of his lack of faith. Here are James and John arguing over who getsContinue reading “The Revelation”

Send Ole Pinkerton Home

Billy Morgan couldn’t sleep. The night was pitch outside, and only a lantern now and again lit some of the rooms or corridors while cooks, nurses, and doctors kept doing their work. Of course, there were still moans coming from the sickest or most wounded patients. Sometimes, a man having a nightmare would scream out.Continue reading “Send Ole Pinkerton Home”

Ain’t My Land, Ain’t Your Land

The old woman rocked slowly in the dwindling summer evening. She gazed out over the cotton fields and listened to the midsummer evening crickets and the creaking wood of the rickety porch. Her husband, brother, son, and daughter were all out there in the distance, shades in the sun, stooping and rising, swinging hoes, andContinue reading “Ain’t My Land, Ain’t Your Land”