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”

More Value than the Sparrows

He visited the scene twenty-four hours after the shooting stopped, and thereafter, one detail burned itself deep into his mind. Over the years, that detail had grown nonsensical, a cosmic joke told by a darkly comic creator. He could revisit the shade of that moment anytime he pleased, and for the first two decades, heContinue reading “More Value than the Sparrows”

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”

To Defend One’s Home

At 5 am, the Confederate army had every reason to believe that they were on the cusp of a great victory. On April 6, 1862, they had caught the Union army under Grant unaware and had driven them to the edge of the Tennessee River. Twenty-seven-year-old John Ashby was in an ideal position. A memberContinue reading “To Defend One’s Home”

Bury Him Properly

They were traveling together toward the fight, all from Mobile and all headed toward Corinth. The whole region crackled with the news, and casualty reports and rumors were already swirling. The battle was still raging, and in fact, the tide had already turned. With reinforcements swarming off of Pittsburgh Landing, Grant and Sherman were alreadyContinue reading “Bury Him Properly”

Burial Location of John K. Alexander, 36th MA

I have corresponded with the Fredericksburg Battlefield National Park personnel in reference to John K. Alexander of the 36th MA. Below is what they noted to me. This adds color to the story “The Tomb Is Empty.” Gordon,I appreciate your desire to locate the burial sites (both initial and final) of these soldiers. The deadContinue reading “Burial Location of John K. Alexander, 36th MA”