Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Lee's Words

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Hope had faded that day. I had seen rifle balls tear through my fellow soldiers, leaving them lifeless upon the ground. We had failed to take Little Round Top and most of the Alabama 15th were taken prisoner. I counted myself lucky to have made it back to our confederate lines, but inside me was a hopeless feeling.

“What’s going on up there?” It was a wounded member of the Alabama 15th that stayed behind.

“Yankees still have the hill, it’s over, it’s over.” I sadly told him.

I had no idea of the implications Little Round Top would have. Later people speculated that the battle at Little Round Top won the Union the battle of Gettysburg, and people would say that the victory in Gettysburg produced the Union’s victory of the war. At that time though, the whole confederacy called it the Battle of Sharpstown. Of course at the time I was only thinking of my dead, dying, and captive friends not what the history books would decide on for the name of these few days of bloodshed.

All of the soldiers around me were sweating because of the intense July heat and the physical exertion the day had demanded. In what was once a Pennsylvania farmer’s field I walked through camps of soldiers and by the medics’ tents. I had no clue as to what to do; the Alabama 15th was mostly wiped out, the men who had become my brothers and the officers who had become my fathers were gone.

I just walked. I walked away from the evil of battle and away from the screams of those unfortunate men who were undergoing amputation. The screams made most of the soldiers cringe, and some cried. Some memories always stick with you and I can still recall as I was walking I saw a sergeant approach a private who was on the ground bawling his eyes out. The officer looked surprised to see such a strong man as the private looked, to be in tears.

“Why do you cry?” the sergeant asked.

Through sobs I heard the muffled reply. “I’m alive.”

The private carried the same guilty feeling I did. So many others lied dead, yet I lived and breathed. A Bible quoting man named Solomon Frank was among the many of the 15th I saw killed. Him a better man than I could ever hope to be was killed, yet I lived. Guilt, exhaustion, and sorrow combined to form my hopeless outlook on life, on the war.

Not being able to move my feet another inch I collapsed there in the middle of the camp of soldiers. I did not know what regiment it was, nor did I care, I just plopped myself down upon the grass. Sleep soon overtook me and never did a nap feel better. Voices woke me up. What started as a murmur grew to a roar and men were flocking towards the dirt road that lied about thirty yards from where I lay. Looking to the road I saw a white horse approaching the camp, but I saw no rider due to a tree branch in the way of my vision. One thing I had retained from Solomon Frank and his spouting of Bible verses was that Jesus Christ was to come back riding a white horse.

Men were sprinting past me to get to the road and I brought one to a halt and proceeded to ask him if Jesus was coming down the road.

“Are you right in the head, that’s General Lee!” the speaker was a slim bearded fellow with a Texan accent.

Following the Texan I reached the road and sure as fire there rode General Robert E. Lee. Seeing the congregation he had drawn the old general stopped his horse not six feet from where I stood. Silence came over the soldiers almost immediately as if they thought if they were quiet Lee would be more out to speak to them. It seemed liked we stared at him and him at us for nearly an hour. Finally, the general raised himself up off the saddle and I could see the white beard surrounding his mouth begin to move.
“You are all brave men, God bless you.”

After those few simple words Lee and his staff rode on towards the headquarters of the camp. Cheers rose up gallantly as the men applauded our noble leader. Hopeless faces brightened, tears stopped flowing, and broken hearts began to feel pride. I shall forever remember the reaction to Lee’s words. Hope was restored that day.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

BilbroSwaggins This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm:
Please tell me if y'all like it
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback