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Letters of Love and Disaster
Thank you for buying me this notebook, now I have paper to send you messages, we must keep it a secret though if they find out we are in serious trouble. My mothers forbid me to speak to you since your family supports slavery. I find this to be unfair because you don’t even believe in slavery. I wish I could’ve brought you up here with me, but since I am forbidden to talk to you I can’t exactly do that.
I miss you so much, since I have left Virginia. It doesn’t seem fair that we had to move away because of this awful war, and now that we moved my father wants me to enlist in the army so I can fight in this horrendous battle. Does he not know how much I despise fighting even for an important cause? He knows that I want to help, but he should also know that I despise these battles.
I do have to say one good thing about coming from moving to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the scenery is amazing. It’s a very quaint town but people say that they think the war is going to end here, but I personally believe that it is too quiet of a town to let the war consume it in the horrifying experience. There are tiny brick houses here and some bigger brick houses, but each has a kind of peace to them. I remember your grandma’s old house. It was made of those white stones, and she always kept the garden full and overgrown with beautiful flowers that’s kind of like what is here. There seems to be no true color up here, just greenery. Sure there are flowers and it is kind of a peaceful color of green that seems to surround this place, but I miss my home, and I miss you.
How are things with your brother being in the war? Have you heard any news of him? I’m sure he’s fine though, he was always able to handle himself in a fight. How are you though? I know you don’t agree with your parent’s ways…maybe you could come visit sometime in secret you know, maybe even stay here for a while.
I’m really sorry I have to go for now I will talk to you when I get your letter back. I know I never told you this back in Virginia, but I love you.
I’m glad you like the journal I bought you, and I am extremely pleased that you are taking the risk of talking to me. The truth is I love you too, but I was afraid to tell you for fear it would ruin our friendship. I miss seeing you everyday down here, life is dull without you. Tea time, horseback riding, even afternoon walks seem to be missing a certain part of them that made them fun. Now that you are gone I am forced to walk with my mother and the friends my mother picks out for me, and everyday all I hear is “Aren’t you glad that you aren’t being sucked in by Aiden’s family filling your mind with the idea that slavery is a bad thing?” I don’t know how much more of it I can take. Just because I don’t believe in using people for my own personal happiness or laziness doesn’t mean that I should be treated differently by my family.
Anyways, at least it’s pretty up there; you could have moved out to the Midwest, I heard that there are no trees down there. I wish I could be there with you too, maybe that way I wouldn’t have to hear my mother’s constant complaining about me. I finally told her that I didn’t agree with what they were doing about the whole slavery thing so actually my mother’s forbid me from talking or seeing you either.
Cole is doing well in the war as far as I know I haven’t heard anything really just a letter a day before yours got here saying that they were moving up toward you guys in about a week or so. I’m ok just wishing that life wasn’t so boring down here. Talk to you soon.
I’m sorry your family is being so hard on you. If you want to be up here maybe you should try to tell them someone sent you a letter explaining they want to meet you so maybe you could be married. Actually forget lying, Victoria we have known each other our entire lives and we have spent much of that time being together. Why not make it even better…will you marry me? I don’t have the money to buy you a ring now, but give me time. Also I will have to break the news to my mother and father.
Also I got the cookies your grandma sent up to me but they got all busted up and broken from the mailing. Please answer me back as quickly as possible I must know your answer. We could run away together…
It has been two weeks since I have received your letter I am sorry that I have not gotten to write you back sooner, for the war has spilled into my house. The South had found out that I was supporting the North’s decision. When they came into attack my house because of me they ended up shooting my mother and my father, and the very person who shot them was my brother, Cole. So now I am left alone with my baby sister. I am going to try to venture up to your house please explain to you mother that I am only coming up because I have nowhere else to go now, for my very flesh and blood shot my mother and father, leaving me alone.
Oh Aiden, it was truly a horrific sight. There I was the day I first received your letter, nothing could have made me happier. I was just about to sit down and read it when my mother walked in holding baby Annabelle. I quickly hid your letter, but accidently tore it down the middle. We sat there for a while making small talk and drinking tea. Dad walked in the door and sat down with us for a bit. It was the first time since you moved that I actually talked to my family without arguing over something stupid. Pity, that that special moment wouldn’t last long. I remember walking up the steps with baby Annabelle to change her diaper and a knock on the door on our way up. When descending the stairs I could see Cole. I quickly ran down the steps with baby Annabelle, and hugged my brother. When he looked down at me there were tears in his eyes. I asked what was wrong with him and he replied back coldly, “I had to tell them, I’m sorry Vicky.” I stepped back and looked at him. “Tell who what?” I replied. He guided me to our lounge and I seen several men in uniform. They had my parents on their knees facing the other direction. Cole grabbed my shoulder and held me as I asked repeatedly what they were doing with Mom and Dad. He told me I had to watch and learn my lesson. There was a loud shot as I looked up at him and when I looked back to my father, he was laying face first on the ground with a dull line of blood running out of the back of his head. All I could hear from there was my baby sister’s crying and my mother’s screams of protest. I could do nothing but stand there and hold little Annabelle and cry. I turned to Cole and asked why, but another man answered me. “You were helping those negroes escape, which cannot go by unpunished.” I protested and protested until finally I heard my mother’s voice.
She told me how they were helping negroes escape from their slavery, and the only reason they gave me a rough time about me not agreeing with the fact that slavery was ok was so they could protect me by saying that I did agree with slavery, but when they found out that I truly didn’t they decided the night before that I could help. Somehow though my brother had found out and he had turned us all in. I lay my baby sister down in her cradle so I could hug my mother. Cole began to pull me away just before they shot her. The warm blood sprayed all over my face and my dress and I couldn’t help but to scream in fear and agony. Tears began to fall from my face, and I knew at that very moment my world was crumbling down and I was next. They reached for baby Annabelle and I got to her first and demanded they leave her alone. Cole showed no remorse for what he was doing and I knew then that this war had hardened him and changed my dear brother. I only managed to escape by luck and now they are looking for me. I will not leave my house until I receive letter from you that I am welcome in your home along with baby Annabelle. Please hurry, I must leave as soon as physically possible.
I have talked to my parents and they understand now that your family truly didn’t believe in those ways so they said they would meet you at your house to save you from sneaking around with baby Annabelle and risking both of your lives. Stay at your house but have everything packed by the time we get there, we are leaving tonight. STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!!!
I am beside myself with this horrible news, I must bring. Victoria…is dead. When we met her at her house the confederates were waiting for us. My mother took baby Annabelle; my father took the bags, while I held dear Victoria’s hand. As soon as I saw her I ran to her and she ran to me. She embraced me in her tiny fragile arms and she kissed me happily. She smiled saying, “Yes, I will marry you!” Nothing could’ve made me happier at that time than to be with her, and hold her. Mother and Father were safely in the carriage waiting for her and I. She began to cry as we started to walk out of her home, but she persisted on with a smile on her face. Then all of a sudden there was a loud crack in the air and Victoria had gone limp in my arms. Her eyes never left mine as blood began to run out of her mouth. She tried to talk but I told her to stop. She laid her soft, gentle hand on my cheek and she smiled. “I love you so much; take care of Annabelle for me.” After that she looked at me and smiled again. I told her I would love Annabelle as if she were my own child. They had shot her in the chest and I trailed down to her throat and then to her wound as I held her crying out in agony. My mother ordered me to hurry to be sure no one else was shot. I grabbed the pearl necklace she was wearing and the ring she was wearing, and I ran to the carriage. Annabelle reached her arms out toward me and I took her from my mother’s arms. She was all I had left of Victoria and I was going to keep my promise no matter what. I hastily made my decision and told my father that I would enlist to serve in the war, so I was sure Annabelle would be safe and no one was going to come after her.
I have gotten in to serve in the war, but I feel horrible for leaving Annabelle. I am packing right now, but decided to take a break to write in you since it has been about two weeks. Life here is somewhat normal, now. We’ve got Annabelle settled into a normal schedule and she’s realizing that there is no more mom, dad, or sissy.
I had an awful dream last night. I was in the war and there was a rabid dog that belonged to the Union army and it began to run full speed towards me. Then right before it got to me it was shot in the head and then shot in the side. It left me feeling oddly unsettling.
Victoria still haunts my dreams every single night. She’s gone and anymore I just feel so lonely. My parents don’t understand, I have no real friends, and I’m about to leave my best friend’s baby sister with my parents when she’s my responsibility, and I have no one to truly talk to…
I have just arrived at my campsite. I am on the Union’s side and things seem to be going well. Since I am new here I am having a rough time adjusting. I worry about Annabelle and my parents, but I know that I am here for a reason. The only reason I am still not sure about being here is because I promised Victoria I would not get involved in this heinous war, before I left Virginia, and yet here I am becoming a part of it. If Victoria were still alive she would be very disappointed in me and she would stand there with one hand on her hip and her finger moving back and forth while she shakes her head and her adorable curls move back and forth.
I must stop talking about her I am only making things worse for myself. I have met someone, a friend I believe, he sleeps in the same sleeping quarters I do, right next to me actually. His name is Christopher, but I am to call him Chris for short. He had just lost his father before he came here so he and I share a sort of sorrow together. It is hard adjusting to camp life, running around doing whatever you can to stay ahead…
I must go for now since I am to go do something for our general, I’m sure it is something very important to further success into the war.
I had my first gun battle today. I was lucky to have even survived. I met another man who I believe I could also become good friends. He was stationed beside me during the battle. His name is Seth. I invited Seth over to Chris and I’s bunk and we began to talk about our pasts. I told both Chris and Seth that if something was to happen to me, they were to write one last note in my journal and then send it and a letter stating what happened to me in battle, to my parents and baby Annabelle. I was extremely proud when I heard them each say that they would do that for me. The general told us today that after today’s fight we would see a lot more battle and to prepare ourselves for whatever may happen…but I must now go to rest.
I come to you once again with sad news. Today during battle Chris died. It was a horrible death. He was shot in the chest first and as I went to try to help him so we could get him to a nurse he was shot right in the forehead. Once again I felt that hollowness inside of me, if Seth would not have been there to help me get through and kept telling me to keep it together for baby Annabelle’s sake, I think it would’ve consumed me. Battle is still waging as we speaks so I must go, but before I do I just want to say something. I love you mom and dad, and yes you too baby Annabelle, I hope you understand why I am doing this. I love you all so very much so I must leave.
My name is Seth Rogan, and I made a promise to Aiden that I would write in his journal and let his family know what had happened to him in battle. Aiden was my only friend in this god forsaken place and I had to witness his death. We were hiding from the Confederates in a rut we had dug out when a whistling noise came from above. Then there was an explosion and I remember Aiden screaming that it had gotten his leg. I leaned down to pick him up and carry him to the nurses’ station. I noticed though that it was not only his leg that was taken by the explosion it was the entire left side of his body. It was almost like the entire side of his body had its skin torn off. I am sorry that I am going into detail over this but that was another part of my promise, to tell you in detail what happened to him. I tried extremely hard to take him to the hospital courters, but as soon we got there and I lay him down he grabbed my shirt and said to me, “Keep true to your promise my dear friend. I know I am not going to make it through this and one last favor I ask of you?” and of course I answered yes, “Would you go to my home in Gettysburg and watch over Annabelle and my mother and father for me?” His eyes were swelling with tears. I answered that I would do everything in my power to keep you kind folks and baby Annabelle safe. Later that night the nurse came to me in my courters, and told me that my best friend was dead. I’m so very sorry for your loss.