Alternate history..this is the first five pages... feed back appreciated greatly
|Early April, 1861
The sun rose upon the small picturesque farm in southern Illinois. The spring air, crisp, comfortable; little knew about the events that had taken place in Charleston, South Carolina that night. Ben Luther rose with the dawn like the rest of his family; already the smell of mother’s fresh cornbread coming into the house from the kitchen. He quickly dressed, another day on the small farm.
He proceeded downstairs; his father had apparently arisen quite early and had ventured into town, snatching up a morning paper. Ben made out the headline “War!” His father had followed the succession crisis with deep interest, predicting that eventually some type of bloodshed would arise.
“They’ve done it…those folks down south fired on Fort Sumter last night…it won’t be long now…civil war.” His father said.
“Aw, you can’t be serious, President Lincoln won’t let that happen…would he?” Ben asked, also trying to keep up with the events of the day.
“Apparently, he couldn’t stop it. Some general named Beauregard opened fire last night…guns were still blazing when the good citizens woke this morning.”
“Stupid politicians…never quite know what they’re getting themselves into…never cared for them much.” Abigail Luther, Ben’s mother complained.
“Does this mean a war daddy or are the papers just trying to make a good story?” Lindsay, Ben’s younger sibling by only a year questioned.
“Hopefully no…that’s the last thing this country needs…”
Breakfast proceeded silently as Ben snatched the pages his father finished, reading them intently. As the meal ended, the fields needed tended as did other small things that came up from day to day. Ben ventured into town, the usual place for him on a Saturday or Sunday, he loved going into the General Store and listening the what everyone had to say about what appeared in the paper that morning. Hours could be wasted listening to people talk; on occasions fights would break out and Sheriff Harrison, a tall, muscular figure would break it up.
He entered the town and already something was awry. John Hanson, one of the town’s more vocal individuals and a deep Christian created a ruckus as he began shouting about the attack on Fort Sumter, a few loyalists gathered at his sides, all of them men. “God’s wrath will be bestowed upon those cursed souls! War will not be tolerated in the eyes of the Lord!” The gentlemen was quite a bad speaker but not afraid to act; he had pulled a gun and was firing shots into the air, still proclaiming that all would suffer God’s angry wrath. Ben stood at a distance, watching him.
“Excuse me there, Ben, but certain fellows just don’t know when to behave.” Sheriff Harrison nudged him aside, shotgun already cocked and ready. “Disperse! Quiet down and go home and there’ll be no need for trouble.”
“The only trouble here Sheriff is the angry God gathering his angels of death, preparing to strike down all evil, wiping it from the earth in one swift motion!”
“Calm down, John. Put the gun away and go home.”
“I will not leave until I have spread the word! All who seek the Lord must hear what I have to say.”
“What you say John, does not interest but those few men around you…this is a Christian town, but you spread the wrong word. Lay your gun down and go home!” Harrison shouted.
“People must hear me! The wrath of God will spare only those who repent from their vile insurrections!”
“No one has caused any type of insurrection here…now for the last time, lay down that gun and go home.”
“You’ll bring a hail of fire and death from the heavens upon us all! Your support of these rebels will be seen as a sin in the eyes of God! Satan himself is awaiting you at the gates of hell!” Bang! Harrison fired his shotgun into the air.
“I said quiet down and go home John!”
“You have opened the gates of hell for your self and in so doing closed those of heaven. You will never be released from Satan’s evil grasp!”
“Perhaps I was not clear…put the gun down and go home!” Harrison reloaded his shotgun; click-clack. By-standers not really paying attention to the moment instantly turned their heads at the familiar and deadly sound.
“May God have mercy on your soul sheriff, for I will show you none!”
He leveled his revolver.
Bang! The gun sounded, John crumpled to the ground. Harrison grabbed his revolver gunning down two of the followers before the other ones threw up their hands. Ben looked away as the blood trickled in a small stream away from John Hanson’s corpse.
He entered the store, and upon entering he saw a group of men talking and decided to join in.
“I dunno about you boys, but I wouldn’t mind shooting at a few of them southern folks right now…”
“Yea Bill, those people sure created a lot of hell…” They all agreed. “Maybe Lincoln will stop all this ruckus before it gets worse…” The group quieted, nothing more to be said until the whole issue progressed further.
“Ya think Lincoln will raise an army?”
“If those folks had any sense, they’d say they were wrong and rejoin the Union.”
“That’s nonsense, Bill…those people aint got any brains of that sort…what do you think there, Mr. Luther?”
“Lincoln doesn’t want a war…he’s only trying to keep this country together…to move an army down south would rip this place apart.” Ben said.
“Here, Here!” Sam, the oldest fellow in the group agreed.
After the conversation died out, Ben returned home in time for dinner, the family not yet together as the food was still being prepared.
“What’s the news from town?” His mother asked curiously.
“There’s talk Lincoln may send an army down south. But everyone seems to agree that Mr. Lincoln doesn’t want a war.”
“Well he’s done his best to start this whole mess hasn’t he? Those damned southern folks don’t agree about the negroes and all…” His father added in.
“Do you think there’ll be a war, daddy?” Lindsay asked.
“I hope not…but at this point, what other way is there? Those southerners need to be taught a lesson. But, war or no war, aint no one in this house joining no army! Ben or I will not go…I forbid it!”
The evening and the following day passed as normal, the conflict not on people’s minds at the moment.
Then on Monday, Ben awoke to his father’s shouts from the kitchen as he read the headlines of the morning press. “To Arms all Union Men! To Arms!” Ben ran down to see what the yelling was about.
“What in God’s name is going on?” Ben asked.
“President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers this morning! Its done…the blood will start flowing soon…”
“Dear God…The governor of Illinois is asking for volunteers to answer Lincoln’s call.” Ben’s mother added.
Ben looked up his eyes wide. His father would never let him go, but he had a feeling of patriotism, a sense of duty; whereas his father would sit back and moan about it but little times would he do something. “You won’t approve of this…but I’m going into town tomorrow to join the regiment. It is my hope that this conflict will end quickly and I’ll be home for the harvest…but if not…I will be back when I can.” His family stared at him.
“No you won’t come back…because you’re not gonna go! Now I was clear the other day that no one in this family would go and fight in any war, and I was dead serious.”
“I’m leaving first thing tomorrow…taking my hunting rifle with me.”