Struggling to stand, Colton glanced around the open field. Smoke filled his vision and hid the fight going on around him. Musket fire mixed with cannon fire to deafen him. Coughing, he fell to his knees and thought about his wife.
She was only a few miles away in Savannah. He knew she could hear the cannon fire from her home. In fact, she was probably on the porch looking this way. He could feel her praying for his safety. This time her prayers wouldn’t work.
He could feel the blood seeping out the bullet hole. He was also cold and his vision blurred. This was not how he was supposed to die. This was not how the war was supposed to go. They should have licked the Yankees in a month. The war should be over and two nations on American soil. What had gone wrong?
He should be at home with his wife and their family. He should be enjoying the joys of fatherhood; instead, he would leave her a young widow.
Rachel, his childhood sweetheart and now his wife, was only sixteen, but wise beyond her years. She would struggle with his death, but he prayed she would find someone else.
His body grew weaker as he hit the ground. Rolling to his back, he looked up at the sky. The picture of Rachel as she whispered her vows appeared. She was beautiful, but it was her heart that he loved most.
“I love you, Rachel,” he whispered as death claimed him.
Phillip knew they were losing ground to the Yankees. The creek provided no shelter, but it didn’t matter. The firefight was in their favor since they had the higher ground, but it made no difference. They couldn’t hold their ground.
Slipping down the ridge, he stepped into the cold waters of Antietam Creek. The bridge was down stream, well within eyesight. The Yankees were taking to the creek banks to gain more ground.
He was tired from matching up from Harper’s Ferry. An urgent message from Lee had them rushing to get to Sharpsburg to help defend the right flank from Major General Burnside’s attack. They didn’t arrive until early afternoon after thousands of men had already died.
They had driven Burnside’s men back to the bridge out of the town. The Yankees were currently defending the bridge they had taken a couple of hours before. He was ordered to scout the area to find a weak link. Dipping low, he slipped into the water as a bullet caught him in the shoulder. He tumbled face first into the cold water.
He struggled to stand. Moments later, he hit the bank. Realizing the battle was almost over; he eased up the bank before rolling to his back. His clothes were soaked, but there was nothing he could do. His shoulder was on fire and now caked with mud.
Smoke filled the air as he looked up. Water lapped around him as he struggled to breath. The sound of cannon fire deafened the cries and screams of dead men that surrounded him. The smell of blood choked him as death circled him. He tried once again to stand but couldn’t.
The bank was slippery due to many soldiers coming out of the water and onto the bank. The mud did nothing, but keep him right where he lay.
Closing his eyes, he prayed for a quick death. He didn’t want to stay on this bank for days as those around him died slowly. There was another reason, he prayed for death. He would finally be reunited with his fiancée, Sarah. Her death was the reason he joined the war. He was tired out running away from her ghost. It was time for them to be together again.