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A Desire for Peace

John A. Buckle was his name. He sat there looking out his window when a messenger boy came by. All he had in his hand was a few papers that said ARMY. The boy gave him one and ran off. He slowly opened the letter and read. After all the dizziness in his head he read it again. It said that he was to be drafted into the army and go to war with the Union. He sat there pale for several minutes until his wife came in. She overheard him reading it and was crying. He hushed her and said, “At least I’m not going in with those bloody b******s from the south!” She agreed and this is how it all began.

He laid there in his cot wondering if he would make it out to see his family again. He had three wonderful children; two girls and the youngest, a boy. His wife had always been there to support him in his needs, but now it was all up to him. He was daydreaming for quite a while before the general came over and ordered everybody up for training. Two weeks he had been in training and this was the last week. He had learned discipline and how to shoot a gun. We had received new rifles that were a lot more accurate than the old muskets that we used. With that, they might have a chance of winning.

When the general came back over he said that we might get our first day of blood because the south’s General Lee was advancing through a blockade. John was scared but he didn’t show it. He hated war more than anyone else, but he told me that if it was for all the good of the people he would do it. Most nights John would stay awake and dream of his family and the war. But his main thought was what was going to happen to him in the midst of battle.

Every day it seemed like there was a separate war within people’s heads, mostly of gloom and sorrow. They would start to freak out and cry about death. Half of the men in our group were scared of war and would not have come if they hadn’t been drafted. We were told we had to defend a city called Gettysburg against the Rebels. Our scouts had seen a large army coming this way but wouldn’t be here for a while. We guessed they would arrive around tomorrow afternoon. Most people were tired, including John, from a hard day’s work. Everybody talked in whispers so people could get some sleep, but then John piped up saying many strong words that determined us to win. He talked about a family we needed to defend. That night he got our hopes up so much we thought we were invincible. With thoughts of victory we all went to bed.

We awoke to the sounds of cannons firing in the distance. Our group jumped up in a panic and scrambled to their positions. We slowly crept up to a shattered building to take cover in. Our sergeant was very good at keeping us safe and it was horrifying to see him give his life trying to save another’s. We stood there in shock, not knowing what to do until John stood up and said he will lead us. John did an amazing job giving our commands. Whenever a member of our team was wounded, John would run up to him, pick him up and carry him all the way back to the medic’s tent. Then all of a sudden he would come sprinting back, shoot some people then grab another soldier. For a good four hours we succeeded in holding our position until we ran out of ammunition.

John screamed a retreat moments before a cannonball blew up right behind us. It was a bloody hell on our way back because of all the dead and wounded. Our men were overwhelmed with the stench and threw up. On our way back two Rebel Officers were wounded and we were going to finish them off when John saw the fear in their eyes and stopped us. He said, “An enemy is a friend and a friend is family and we are all related in some way.” He then picked up the two officers. We stared at him with disgust until we heard a shot and a bullet ripped right through John’s face and he fell motionless in the now red dirt. With the sight of half of his head gone, I immediately started to be sick. But in John’s honor I picked up the officers and hurried to the medic’s tent.

After a few more hours of fighting, we all were in shock of what happened that day. We had lost seven-thousand troops and the Rebels lost nine-thousand. It was a victorious day, but we feared more to come in Gettysburg in the next month.

Our squad looked saddened by the loss of John and we decided to give him a proper burial. He saved thirty people and two from the South. We said a couple of prayers and dug a hole. Everyone in our squad paid their respects to John. None of us forgot what happened that day and the lesson learned by the loss of John. We learned that no matter whom you are, we need to help others when they need help, not destroy them. John was my best friend from childhood and I will never forget him.





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