Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Union in the South

Custom User Avatar
More by this author

Dec. 22, 1860

William and I rub our hands together as we wait for our train to arrive. It is a cold winter morning and last night’s snowfall had covered the station in pure white. From our bench, I can see other passengers with their morning papers and headlines reading, “The Union is Dissolved!” For a while now, tension has been rising between the northern and the southern states. The north has been abolishing slavery and the south were growing anxious. When President Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina sent an “Ordinance of Secession” to Congress, declaring that they would no longer be a part of the Union! The Secession of South Carolina was declared two days ago and ever since, there is much commotion. I suppose it is understandable considering that this is the first time a secession has ever happened. Father was more worried about Uncle Ed though. That is why William and I are going to see him and make sure things are all right down at his plantation. We are to stay until Easter next year.

April 12, 1861

I had been eating my breakfast when Cousin Travis barges in from the front door waving the morning paper around like a chicken without a head. Unable to maintain his excitement, he gave the paper to William. I leaned over his shoulder and read the front page. The Battle of Fort Sumter had begun! According to the Charleston Daily Herald, the battle began when Union Major Robert Anderson refused to surrender to Confederate General Beauregard. Before sunrise today, a shell had exploded above Fort Sumter marking the start of a greater battle to come.

April 13, 1861

Ever since yesterday, everyone of Charleston is eager for the end result of the battle. The Union and the Confederates are still fighting at Fort Sumter and apparently the fort has caught on fire. I feel like I can hear the attacks from the plantation. Cousin Travis has been in a dreamy state ever since the battle. He wants to become a soldier one day so any mention of a battle gets him excited.
It was around 2:30 pm when the battle finally ended. Major Anderson had raised the white flag of surrender, the Confederates had won. Cousin Travis is ecstatic. Once the news was out he had gone outside and shouted out to the world about the Confederates’ victory. I am not so sure how I feel about this. For my whole life, I had sided with the Union but right now I am in the South, the Confederate side. When I looked at William he was laughing at Cousin Travis’ silliness.

July 1861

It is July and harvest season at the cotton plantation. William and I have been unable to go back home because of the increasing hostilities between the North and the South. According to Aunt May, we could get killed for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. So for now, we help out at the plantation. Lately, Uncle Ed has been beating the slaves more and telling them to work faster. It must be because the Confederate soldiers need more supplies. President Lincoln ordered a federal naval blockade on all southern ports in April 20, 1861 causing trade to cease. The Confederacy lost support from foreign powers and are struggling through the war.

Mar. 1863

Aunt May could not stand being alone in the house anymore. Without any slaves or men left on the plantation, she declares to me that we will be leaving for a hospital near Charleston Harbor. There, we could help the Confederates with their wounded. I was not so keen on the idea of traveling near a battlefield but I had no choice in the matter, we were going to Charleston Harbor to aid as nurses. Throughout the winter, we prepared extra uniforms and blankets to give to the soldiers. With the extra scraps I had, I was able to secretly make a small Union flag.

April 16, 1862

William is gone! Recently, the first confederate draft was announced to recruit men to go fight in the war. The Confederacy faced overwhelming armies and needed more men on the defensive. Uncle Ed was summoned and Cousin Travis was more than willing to go fight for the Confederates. But William! Not only is he too young but he is supposed to be fighting for the Union! It broke my heart when I heard from Jessy, a slave friend I had made on the plantation, that he saw William stowaway with Uncle Ed and Cousin Travis. If only we had returned home, William would at least be fighting for the Union.

Sept. 22, 1862

It was the afternoon and I was relaxing on the front porch when I noticed Jessy running towards me. The slaves have been able to move around more freely ever since Uncle Ed had left. He shoved a paper in my face and told me to read it out loud. It was about President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. As I read it, I reached the part he wanted to hear, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” President Abraham Lincoln was giving the slaves an opportunity to gain their freedom.. From that point, I knew what Jessy was going to do. He was going to join the Union army and win his freedom.

Mar. 1863

Aunt May could not stand being alone in the house anymore. Without any slaves or men left on the plantation, she declares to me that we will be leaving for a hospital near Charleston Harbor. There, we could help the Confederates with their wounded. I was not so keen on the idea of traveling near a battlefield but I had no choice in the matter, we were going to Charleston Harbor to aid as nurses. Throughout the winter, we prepared extra uniforms and blankets to give to the soldiers. With the extra scraps I had, I was able to secretly make a small Union flag.

Mar. 1863

Aunt May and I had safely arrived at the hospital near Charleston Harbor. While Aunt May learned to take care of the wounds of the soldiers, my job was to carry the supplies for her and the other nurses. I cannot say I enjoyed the time I spent there but it did give me an opportunity I may have never gotten. I was running an errand when I encountered a Union spy dressed as a Confederate soldier. He was severely wounded and did not have much time to live. Desperate, he told me how to contact the Union and give them the valuable information he had tucked away in his uniform. I accepted the piece of paper and tucked it into my dress pocket. But before I could ask any questions, he had passed on. I had felt the piece of paper in my pocket deep in thought. After a while, I had decided that I would help the dead soldier and finish his task for the benefit of the Union.

April 7, 1863

I had successfully crossed over to the Union side and was accepted immediately when I told them about the piece of paper. As a reward, I had been able to meet Father, who I had not seen for 3 years. No words could describe the emotions I felt upon seeing the face of Father. However, before we could talk about the past 3 years, he was called to fight in his last battle, the Battle of Charleston Harbor. The Union took the first move and attacked the Confederate defenses under the command of Du Pont. But the Union ships were unable to pass through the defenses and ended up severely damaged with one sunk. I later on found out that Father had been placed in the front lines and was immediately killed by a bullet. I could not bear staying near the battlefield any longer and was sent home with Father’s belt and buckle.




Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback