In LA, we had to write a Civil War story, so this is what I wrote!
I was sitting on my porch with Rocky admiring the sunset. The cool, gentle breeze swished my black hair around. I stroked Rocky’s black fur while he was laying in my lap. I took a deep breath when the wind blew. The orange and brown leaves danced with each other while others rested under the trees in piles. Seeing nature around me is so calming for the both of us. We spent our time playing in the forest whenever we got the chance. Now we barely do not because we’re growing up, but because it’s not safe. Well, maybe it was safe, but I didn’t feel comfortable going in a forest with the south on our necks. It’s 1860 right now and Abraham Lincoln was just elected. I couldn’t vote because I wasn’t old enough, but that’s fine with me! Since he was elected, the south seceded and made their own state. I know I’m not the only one that’s upset about that.
“Hey Edwin,” someone walks up to me.
“Oh hey, Margaret,” I waved. “How’s it going?”
“Nothing exciting about me,” she sat next to me, “but did you hear about the Bleeding Kansas thing? The rumor has been spreading like wildfire here!” She attempted to fix her curly hair.
Rocky looked at me.
I answered Margaret, “Actually, yes I did.”
‘The Bleeding Kansas thing’ she’s talking about has been going on ever since the Kansas-Nebraska Act came out, which basically let the people decide whether they’re a free or slave state. This is also known as Popular Sovereignty. Whenever they send out a new act for us, the South always seems to get the better deal.
“It was stupid for them to let the people choose to be a free or slave state when it was already decided! They should have just stayed a slave state; it’s better for everyone.”
“I just wish they weren’t a slave state to begin with,” I sighed.
“Wait, what?” Margaret stood up and glared at me. I had gotten her attention.
“So, wait. You’re telling me you’re anti-slave?!”
I gestured Rocky to hop off my lap so I could stand up. “Yes. Why?”
“Since when were you an anti-slave person?!”
“Since the beginning of time,” I tried to keep my voice calm. I thought she already knew this, and I thought she respected me for it. Guess not…
She turns away from me and her brown hair flips, “Why am I even talking to you…”
“So you’d rather me be dead then-” I joked adjusting my suspenders.
“Yes!” she turned around with fire in her brown eyes. At this point, I knew she was being serious. “The next time you see me, you’ll wish you were dead!” she spat, then she stormed off.
I stood there in shock until Rocky brushed his soft fur against my pants. I knelt down and pet him, “Don’t worry about her. She won’t do anything to us.” I hope… I sat back down next to Rocky. We had a moment of silence, then Rocky sighed.
“No, I think Margaret is just scared,” I said to him.
Rocky looked at me with an eyebrow raised.
“No? Okay, maybe not.” We both watched a leaf roll by.
I was building a triangle tower out of cards while Rocky was eating. This year was really hot for us. It was too hot to do anything outside. I carefully, slowly set the last cards on the top as Rocky walked in the living room.
“Rocky, I was thinking…” I pet his head. I continued when he looked at my eyes, “I think it’s about time we help end this war.”
Rocky studied my eyes.
“I know I’m not into fighting or anything like that, but I think my archery skills could be my advantage. I want this mess to end!”
“Margaret on the battlefield? I don’t think that’ll happen. But really, you want this war to end too, right?”
He nodded. He took the moment to think about the topic, then he looks back at me with confidence in his brown eyes.
“Aw, thanks, buddy,” I rubbed my friend’s head. “Okay, so now we need to figure out how to get in the war.” I stood up and headed for the door. “You want to go for a walk?”
Rocky barked leaping in and air, and he followed me out the door.
It was May right now, and, the war had already started at this point, President Lincoln was calling for volunteers. Rocky and I were signing up right now!
“So, you and your dog want to join the Union?”
“Yes,” I told one of the guys signing us up. I wasn’t sure who he was though, so don’t ask!
“Edwin Carter,” I point to my friend, “and this is Rocky.” Rocky woofed in response.
“Edwin…” he wrote down. “Carter…”
I couldn’t contain my shaking. I couldn’t tell if I was scared or excited. Maybe both. Rocky was being shy though; his fur was leaning against my pants.
“Rocky…” he finished writing. “All right, Eddie! See you on the battlefield.”
Eddie? “Thank you, sir!” I gestured Rocky to follow me out of the building.
Rocky was questioning the guy after he called me Eddie.
“I don’t know either. What kind of a name is Eddie?”
“Ed… win? Yeah, that’s nice sounding. It makes it sound like we have a better chance of winning this war.”
He made a weird growling sound.
“What? We can talk about my name. We could even make fun of it if you really wanted to!” I waited for Rocky to respond, and when he did, I cringed. “Okay, now you’re pushing it.”
The sound of muskets and cannons filled the air. The uniform I was wearing was so itchy I was constantly moving around. I held the rifle tightly in my hands. Rocky was ready to pounce on someone, but the sound of the cannons scared him, so I was protecting him most of the time. After firing at a few people, I’ve decided that I haven’t shot any of them, and that’s when I thought I had aiming skills…
A cannon fired, and Rocky took off.
Time stopped for a second. “Rocky! Come back!” I darted after him deeper into the battle. My feet felt like they were running in needles. I kept calling for him because I lost sight of him. After a few calls, I finally heard him howling back. When I found him, I saw him slowly stepping back away from an army man. It was a Confederate soldier. “Rocky!”
Rocky looked at me and ran towards me. The gun fired almost hitting Rocky’s in the foot.
“Rocky! You okay?” I grabbed his back paw to make sure it was okay. I then took my gun and pointed at the soldier. He backed up and ran the other direction, but not out of my sight. I fired. The rifle slightly pushed be back, and I almost lost balance. The soldier hit the ground. Did I hit him? I hit him! If Rocky was a human, he’d be clapping and cheering for me, but instead, he showed his excitement by bouncing up and down.
I roughly rubbed his head, “Thanks, but we don’t have too much time to party. We have a war to survive.”
A cannon in the distance fired making Rocky jump, but he stood his ground. That’s one reason why I like Rocky; he learns fast.
I would love to be sitting at home messing around with my cards or stacking my dominoes or even just relaxing on the porch. But, no. Our lives are on the edge of the line at Wilson’s Creek. I can’t tell who’s winning, but I’m going to say we’re losing. Rocky’s getting better about the cannons. In fact, he’s been saving me more than I’ve saved him at this point. It’s great to have a brave, cute dog saving you. It does make me look weak, but I don’t care… Okay, I do care. I feel like I’m constantly being judged, then Rocky gets all the “awws.” I won’t blame him. He is cute. Anyway, all that matters to me is that we both are alive right now.
I had the feeling someone was aiming at me. As soon as I turn around, guess what’s pointing at me! Usually, your natural instinct when you’re holding a gun and someone’s going to shoot you is to point your gun back at them. Nope! I took cover and held onto my head for dear life. I thought I was dead for a split second when I heard a gun fire, but then I heard the guy that aimed at me fall. I looked up to see someone reaching for my hand.
“You need a hand?” he said to me.
I didn’t say anything, but I nodded and grabbed his hand.
He pulled me up. “Hey! You must be Eddie,” he patted me on the back.
“Edwin, but yeah,” I corrected him.
“I ran into your dog and figured I’d follow him.”
See? Rocky gets all the attention. “Oh, really? Rocky grabbed you?”
“Yep! Boy, he’s a sweet one,” he pet Rocky on the head.
I knelt down to Rocky’s height and rubbed his face, “That’s a good boy!” I could tell Rocky was delighted.
“Oh, the name’s Dennis,” he held out his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Dennis,” I shook his hand firmly. After that, we focused back on the battle we were in the middle of. I was able to shoot a couple of people, which is not usually something to be proud of, but whatever. Rocky was being a ‘cute yet vicious’ type. He’s not very good at sneaking up on people, so instead, he’d look all cute, then attack. Dennis? He was my back up by keeping a sharp eye out for people aiming at me. We were chatting more, and he mentioned he was made to go fight in the war, but he would have joined it anyway. I don’t believe that second part.
Later that day, Dennis brought a couple other guys to hang out with us. We were playing with cards, but we were mostly just chatting.
“Edwin, this is Richard and Andrew,” Dennis points to his two other friends.
“Hey Edwin,” Andrew waved at me.
“Hi,” Richard waves after him.
“Hi guys,” I wave back. Then I introduced Rocky.
“Aww,” Richard bends over and rubs Rocky’s face, “isn’t he adorable!”
“Yeah, how’d you meet Rocky, Ed?”
“Oh, the poor thing was kicked out of his original home,” I pet Rocky. “He won’t tell me why. He was only a few months old, too. I found him when I was strolling through the woods. While I was walking around, I heard whimpering sounds. I went to check it out, and Rocky was sitting under a big tree in pain.”
“Aww,” Dennis interrupts.
I noticed Rocky was playing around with the stones on the ground. “I wasn’t sure what attacked him or if he was even attacked, but I had to help him. That was,” I counted my fingers, “about three years ago.”
“You said you weren’t sure if he was attacked or not, but did he have any scratches or anything like that?” Andrew asked.
“Oh yeah, he definitely did have scratches. His white paw was nearly red.”
“Why’d you name him Rocky?” Dennis asks.
Rocky looks at us and stops playing with the stones.
I point at Rocky, “Because he’d always play with rocks.”
The three boys laughed.
“He doesn’t do it often anymore, because he plays with me now.”
I’m totally ready for this battle… It’s the Battle of Kernstown, and, to be honest, it’s not very different from all the other battles from my point of view. Rocky was helping me out and I was saving him a couple times. He pounced on a Confederate soldier, and another one walked up to me armed.
“Look who it is!” the soldier walking up to me barking.
I turned around staring at him. I had my rifle ready.
“I figured I’d find you here, Edwin,” he spat my name. He pointed at me with his gun, “You’re going down!”
I stepped back, “Wait… you know my name?”
He shot, but his terrible aim was an advantage for me. “Hold still and let me shoot you!”
I ignored him. “You sound so familiar, yet you look so different…” I looked at the short, brown hair and brown eyes.
“Remember I wanted you dead?”
I gasped, “Margaret!?” I dropped my rifle.
She smirked really big for the whole world to see. Her brown hair was cut short, her green earrings were taken off leaving a small hole on both her ears, and the uniform she wore made her look so flat… “You got it, Edwin,” she pointed her gun at my head.
Before she could fire, Rocky stopped her by running after her barking. He leaped toward her face and she dodged.
“Rocky, don’t hurt her!” I yelled.
“Aww, has someone not realized this friendship is done for?”
“You may hate me, but we’re still friends!”
“No, we’re not, and we won’t be friends ever again,” she got her gun ready, “because you’ll be dead!”
Rocky bit her leg, making her shriek. He held on while she swung him around. She finally used the back of her rifle to push him off throwing him a few feet away. The sound of him whimpering shook me.
I took a step towards Rocky’s body before Margaret yelled at me, “Don’t take another step, Edwin!” Her bleeding leg didn’t stop her from standing up straight. I’m sure it hurt her as much as my aching heart.
“Is everything okay, Ed?” someone came running up to me. I turned around to see Dennis, Richard, and Andrew next to me.
“Guys. You made it,” I felt better about myself.
Rocky slowly stood back up.
“Seriously, Edwin? You think this is going to stop me!?” Margaret barked.
Richard whispers to me, “Is this a girl we’re ‘talking’ to?”
“This man,” Dennis points at Margaret, “shouldn’t be messing with any of us!”
Margaret and I meet gazes, and we just start laughing. Richard knew what we were thinking, so he joined.
“What are you laughing at? Is this a joke that I missed?” Dennis tries to hide his laughing.
“That’s a woman,” Richard told him coughing off his laugh.
“Oh… Anywho, she’s going down!” he charges after her.
I stop laughing, “No, Dennis!!”
Margaret stops laughing and aims her rifle.
Andrew stops both of them by shooting Margaret’s gun, making her drop it.
After a moment of silence, Margaret steps back, “Fine! Have it your way! Edwin,” she looks at me, “don’t think I’m done with you.” She runs off.
After the Battle of Kernstown, I’ve been looking out for Margaret, because I knew she’d be doing anything to hunt me down. It’s been about a year since she last saw me. I was in the first battle of 1863 right now which was in Tennessee. It’s not too far from Indiana which is my home state. I ended up thinking about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I got the chance to read it beforehand, and it helped me feel better about fighting in the war. The book was about slavery, so the fact that I read it gives me a reason to fight strong. To sum all of that up: I felt stronger after reading it.
After Rocky helped me up from a Confederate soldier attack, I heard Andrew call, “Watch your heads!” Then the sound of a cannon fired. The smoke filled the air making me cough. Rocky sneezed, too.
There were people fighting and firing back and forth on the battlefield. I tried to stay away from that. I just shot at the crowd hoping to shoot a Confederate soldier. Before I knew it, a soldier was pointing at me and fired. I thought I was dead, but then I realized I couldn’t feel my hand. I dropped my gun reaching for my right hand. The blood roared and bounded in my head, and my hand was oozing blood. Rocky ran to go get help. I tried to hide from the South. My breath got heavy, and I started to feel dizzy. The smell of smoke and the sounds of cannons was all I could remember.
I woke up laying in a tent. I was confused at first, then when I saw my wrapped hand, I remembered the blood I held in that hand. Rocky ran into the tent I was in and started licking my face.
“Rocky,” I rubbed his face with my good hand.
Rocky panted. I could tell he was so happy to see me.
“You’re a lifesaver, you know that?”
Rocky’s smile dropped and he looked at the exit of the tent.
“What’s wrong?” I studied his expression. He wanted me to follow him, so I slowly got up (with a little help from him) and we walked outside. He led me to another tent that looked a little crowded. When I stepped in, I saw Dennis.
Dennis was laying down, Richard was holding his hand breathing heavily. Andrew noticed I walked in, but he didn’t say anything. There was a woman next to Andrew. I saw a big, red spot on the blanket Dennis was under that was across his chest.
“Ed,” Dennis says quietly. His blue eyes darken and his blonde hair limped motionlessly.
I walk up to him, “Dennis? What happened?”
“Ed, it was fun fighting by your side.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Richard cries. “Save your energy!”
“Ricky,” Dennis looks at Richard and he looks at Dennis.
Rocky interrupts by walking up next to Richard whimpering. Dennis’ shaky hand strokes Rocky’s fur.
“Dennis, you’re going to be fine. We’re here for you,” I tell him.
“Thanks… Edwin, but we all know… this was my last battle.”
“No!” Richard cries.
“Ricky, don’t yell,” Andrew shushes him. He hides his mouth with his fist.
“Edwin…” Dennis lets the moment of silence happen. “Win the war for me, will ya?”
I nod. I didn’t know what to say anymore.
Dennis stared for a few, then his eyes shut and his hand dropped out of mine. The woman knelt down to feel for a pulse. I could hear Richard saying to himself, “Don’t be dead!” After a few seconds, the woman sat up with sorrow in her eyes, and she shook her head. Richard hugged his friends crying. Andrew looked down at his feet in pain. Rocky laid down next to Dennis with sadness in his eyes. Me? I was speechless. Why did he have to go so soon? But he said to win the war for him, so I’ll make sure that happens!
We couldn’t stop thinking about Dennis. He saved me a bunch of times during the war, but now we’re one man short. I tried to not let it bother me too much. After a few months or so, we were in the Battle of Gettysburg, which was more of the Battle of Death for us, especially Richard. Dennis and Richard must have been really close. Speaking of Dennis, I heard what happened to him. After Rocky got help, he came back to me with Dennis, Richard, and Andrew. Apparently, when they were taking me to safety, Dennis got shot in the chest making it harder on Andrew and Richard in multiple ways. After they took me to the camp, they got medical help to patch me up while they took care of Dennis. I’d be dead if Rocky hadn’t saved me, but Dennis would probably still be alive.
I don’t really have anything exciting to say except I had a harder time shooting because of my crippled dominate hand. I still shot people though, but that gave Rocky more opportunities to save me. Thanks, Rocky! I swear he’s the best dog anyone could ever have!
After each battle, the four of us just kind of sat around staring at each other. Richard didn’t say anything because of how much he still missed Dennis.
One night when Richard fell asleep before the rest of us, Andrew came up to me.
“What’s up?” I asked him quietly.
“Can’t sleep,” he answered.
“Hey, you don’t happen to know why Ricky is so close to Dennis, do you?”
“I do.” He looks at Richard to make sure he’s asleep. “He and Dennis were best friends since they were little kids.”
“Yeah. I’m sure it’s really painful watching your best friend die. Not saying I went through that pain though.”
“When did you meet Dennis?”
“A few years before the war started. He was a cool guy. He’d always back you up and he always understood you. And he’s easy to talk to,” Andrew sniffed.
“I’m sorry,” I patted him on the back.
He wiped his nose, “No, it’s fine. We… should go to sleep.”
Fort Stevens was covered in smoke, making it hard to breathe for me. We’re now 3 years into the war, and I’m just begging for the South to surrender! I think I saw Margaret in the distance during this battle, but I don’t know. At least she hasn’t found me… yet. I’ve been getting used to shooting with my broken hand. It’s feeling better (I can sort of feel it now), which is really nice! Rocky’s still helping me because he’s a good dog. Richard was starting to feel better about himself, which is good as well. Basically, the start of this battle has been good for all of us.
The smell of smoke filled the air making me cough here and there throughout the battle. It was starting to make me feel a little dizzy, but not dizzy enough to stop me from standing and doing stuff. I heard soldiers running towards me. Rocky was growling and barking at them while standing in front of me. The sound of cannons boomed on top of his sounds. I was catching my breath while all of this was happening. When I caught my breath, a gun shot and Rocky flew back and hit the ground. I watched him slide across the ground, then my eyes widen.
“Rocky!! NO!!!” I ran to him and grabbed him. The guns continued to shoot as I ran away from them. When I looked back, I recognized Margaret. Her green eyes met my blue eyes, and she cracked a menacing smile. I kept running for safety. “Rocky, you’re going to be okay!” I told him. I heard him panting and whimpering in my arms. Margaret shot her gun at me; I tripped and hit the ground. I stayed there motionless. I kept my eyes shut. Then I heard the two soldiers run off.
Andrew and Richard came running up to us.
“Edwin!!” Andrew scared me.
I got up moaning. “Ow…”
“Did she get you?” Richard ask me panicking.
I couldn’t say anything. I just stared at Rocky. I saw blood dripping off his fur. The others realized I was freaking out because of Rocky.
“We need to take him to the camp now!” Andrew picked Rocky up. He and Richard headed to the camp, but I just kept staring. I really hope he’ll be okay…
I entered the tent with a sense of deja vu. I went up to Rocky. He was really happy to see me, but he didn’t jump up to lick me. He just laid there in pain.
“Are you okay, buddy?” I asked him.
Rocky whimpered, then sneezed.
I quoted from the time I laid in the tent, “‘You’re a lifesaver, you know that?’” My eyes started to water up. “You’re a brave, sweet, and loyal dog. There’s no dog out there like you. No dog! I need you, Rocky. I-” I sniffed, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Rocky blinked, and he tried to stand up and let the pain go, but it was too much for him, so he fell back on his side. He closed his eyes for a few seconds.
“Don’t leave me,” I quietly told him. “Please.”
His painful sounds pierced my heart. I could feel a tear roll down my cheek.
Finally, I set my hand on his crimson-tinted black fur and whispered to him, “I love you, Rocky.”
Rocky met my watery eyes and took one last deep breath before his eyes shut. The nurse in the tent came down across from me and felt for a pulse, but we all know this is the last time I’d see him. I buried my face in his fur with tears raining from my eyes. I wanted him back. He was my best friend, my first friend. He didn’t deserve this!
After that moment, nothing was the same. I couldn’t fight. I couldn’t speak. The pain I was feeling was the one killing me. It was a couple days after when people started realizing what happened.
“Oh, Edwin. I’m sorry for your loss,” someone patted me on the back. We were having a small chat in the camp. I didn’t know who he was except he was a part of the Union.
I took deep breaths to prevent tears rolling down my face, then I nodded, “There’s no dog out there as positive and as brave as him.”
“Definitely.” After a moment of silence, he said with a confident sounding tone, “Come on, Edwin. We have a war to finish,”
I smiled thinking of Dennis. “Right. Let’s make the Confederacy wish they never left the USA.”
The rest of the war was tough for me, because I couldn’t stop thinking about Rocky. One time, there were two figures running toward me, so I aimed my gun at their direction. That’s when I saw they were dogs. The dogs reminded me of him chasing after other soldiers. It made me hesitate, but I did end up shooting both dogs. It was my fault he’s not standing next to me right now! If only I wasn’t so helpless, then I would have saved him…
I was sitting on my porch spacing out. The wind blew slightly swaying me around.
“Edwin! Guess what?” someone walked up to me.
I looked up to see Andrew and Richard. “What?”
“The war is over! We won!” Richard got all hyped up.
“Yep,” I nodded. “I get to wander around in the woods… alone this time.”
Richard and Andrew looked at each other, then Andrew smiled at me, “Who says you’re going alone?”
The world just got brighter. I had friends to go walk in the forest with!
“Edwin,” I heard someone towards my left.
I look over. “Margaret?” A flashback of Rocky getting shot hit my head.
“Well… you happy?” she sounded upset. Her hair was a little longer since the first time I saw her on the battlefield.
“Yeah, I guess. The war is over and the slaves should be free, but…” I looked down at my feet.
“Oh, grow up! People and animals die every day.”
“You’re the one who shot him,” I blurted out.
“I was aiming for you, Edwin! I just ended up shooting your dog. I hope you realized that,” she started walking away. “And that was when I had an excuse to shoot you.”
“What do you mean?” I kept her from walking too far off.
“I mean when we were on the battlefield and I shot you, I would be just fine, but if I shot you right now or sometime in the future, I’d be punished!” she turned around and kept walking, making it harder to hear her. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to cause a big scene and probably never see home again.”
I’m guessing she’s done chasing after me…?
Richard interrupted the silent moment, “Hey, Ed. You ready to get lost?”
I stood up, “You bet!”
The three of us headed towards the forest and, like Richard said, got lost.