Apologia for the confederate soldier

Barefoot and swatting gnats and flies that swarm around the open sore on his forearm, he’s leaning against a pine tree by the tracks, waiting with the others. When he left home, back in Emanuel County, his pappy gave him his old cap lock musket, but he hadn’t fired it much because he was skinny and the old thing was so heavy. He’s enjoying a sack of corn pones and bacon he bought in Carollton. The pones are chock full of butter the way his mammy makes them. He arrived just yesterday, after a month’s walking, just like his two brothers had done before him. It was real important for him to fight beside his brothers. That way they could look out for each other and keep his folks from worrying so much. The brothers had gone by train, too, the same one he was waiting on, gone to a place way off in Mississippi called Vicksburg. Their few letters said times were tough and most boys didn’t have enough to eat or clean clothes, so he’d brought along a bundle of clothes and food. He had hoped the pones and bacon would get rid of the tightness in his gut. He tried not to think about it, but it was hard. He tried to will it away, but the more he did that, the worse it got. Some of the older men ragged him he should have stayed home and helped his folks. But he stood up to them. he told them: you don’t stay home and do nothing when somebody’s invading your country! You fight to protect your home! Even though he was sixteen and didn’t have much of a beard, in that one moment, his eyes blazed and his chin thrust out, and the others recognized he may be a runt, but he means just what he says.

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