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Subject: Memories of Gettsburg C8 Preface: This is a love story involving gay youth and adults. There are vivid descriptions of consnsual sex between the characters so the usual warnings apply. The story is completely ficticious but is built around true events of the American Civil War. In that regard I have tried to be as accurate as possible. Thanks to all those who have responded to my story to date. Please keep those emails coming to ail. I answer them all, even those with criticisms. Please consider donating to Nifty. It’s important that we keep this precious resource alive. Enjoy! Memories of Gettysburg Chapter eight Going by the dates on his letters Ben kept his word about writing at least once a week. Sometimes we’d go a few weeks without hearing from him only to be bombarded with several at once. I guess with the vagaries of war it was difficult to maintain a normal postal service. Gone was the youthful bravado of his earlier letters. Bit by bit the pages took on a more serious tone. The war had become a burden to his soul and his words reflected it. You remember Jimmy Smith, he wrote in one letter. We used to play together at school. A couple of times I brought him home with me. We had some good times together. Well he got himself killed at the Second Battle of Bull Run. I hope he made his peace with the Lord. Sometimes I wonder when it will be my turn to go but I work hard at keeping them thoughts out of my mind. The leaves were turning once again with no end in sight for the war. In November the family received a particularly poignant letter from Ben. I’ve changed my mind about war, Pa read. It ain’t a fitting place for man nor beast. I never knew it was possible to create so much death and destruction. Ma was already filling her apron with tears. Pa solemnly continued. Still I will do my duty right to the end, no matter what that end may be. I’ve changed my mind about the Rebs too. They ain’t yellow bellies, far from it. From what I can see they are decent folks just like us, fighting hard for what they believe in. Most of them want to go home just like I do. After this war is over I’ll be proud to call them Americans. We have to learn to get along with them. Anyways that’s the way I see it. Your loving son Ben. Pa slowly put the letter down and silently stared at ma. There were tears falling from his face. It was the first time Jordan had ever seen his father cry. Ma insisted we all kneel on the floor, hold hands and pray for Ben’s safe return. Jordan figured a little praying would do him no harm. About a week later Jordan was returning to the house from Ben’s Hideaway. Joshua was in tow as usual. From some distance off he spied a fine carriage parked by the house. He knew that carriage anywhere. It belonged to Doctor Richards. Jordan figured something had to be amiss and he took off as fast as he could go. “Wait up,” Joshua screamed. “I can’t keep up to ya.” Jordan didn’t slow down until he reached the kitchen. He found ma and doctor Richards quietly sipping tea. “What’s wrong? Who’s sick?” he demanded breathlessly. Ma and the good doctor chuckled to themselves. “Nothing’s wrong son. We were just waiting for you.” “Why ma? Ain’t nothing wrong with me.” Ma rose from her chair and clasped Jordan to her bosom. “Land sakes, Jordan, I never said there was. The doctor here has a proposition for you. Sit down and listen.” Jordan relaxed a little and turned his attention to the doctor. The doctor rose and shook Jordan’s hand as a sign of respect. “I am happy to meet you son. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.” Jordan was taken aback, “Really?” “Miss Clarke told me you were one of the brightest students she ever had.” “That’s very nice of her to say that,” said a still surprised Jordan. “She told me she often used you to tutor some of the weaker pupils and that you did an excellent job.” Jordan shrugged his shoulders. “I tried.” The doctor continued. “You are showing modesty my boy. I like that. It seems you not only tried, you succeeded.” Jordan shrugged again. He could feel his face redden. He was not used to getting such high praise from such an eminent town figure as the doctor. The doctor changed topic by getting down to business. “My son Lucas is having a terrible time learning to read. It seems he did not inherit my intelligence. When you can’t read it becomes near impossible to learn anything else.” The doctor paused, taking another sip of tea before continuing. “I’d help him myself but my practice keeps me too busy. Miss Clarke recommended I hire you as a private tutor.” Jordan immediately recognized this as an exciting opportunity to try something other than farming. He and John in discussing their future had mutually decided that farming was not their occupation of choice. To this point both of them had no idea what an alternative occupation might look like. Doctor Richards continued. “I’d like you to tutor Lucas twice a week. I’ll pay you two dollars a week or a dollar a visit. If Lucas likes you and we see a marked improvement I will increase your salary later.” Ma was bursting at the seams she was so proud of her son. Land sakes she thought, two dollars a week! That was mighty good money for a young teenager to be making. “I’ll try my very best sir,” Jordan smiled. Doctor Richards rose from his seat and stuck out his hand in order to seal the deal. “I expected nothing less from you my son,” he grinned. Jordan would begin next week. Pa continued to garner every scrap of information he could find on the war. Every Saturday night he would gather the family around and relay what he had found. Of course he always added his own embellishments and interpretations if he felt it enhanced his telling of the tale. “Seems the two armies are beginning to work their way north,” he opined. “Right now they’re near a place called Chancellorsville .” Ma sat there pondering. “If they keep headin the direction they are going now, isn’t it possible they could reach Gettysburg?” “Hush woman. Ain’t no chance of that happening. I’m sure they will turn one way or the other long before they reach here. Besides, Gettysburg ain’t a fit place for a battle anyway.” Ma quietly returned to her knitting. Jordan stepped in with his two cents worth. “Have we won any battles yet?” he asked. “Not yet son,” he replied. “Looks like Lincoln is as frustrated as I am about it. He keeps changing the general in charge of everything but it doesn’t seem to do much good. They keep outsmarting us with fewer men and less equipment. I did learn that one of their best generals Stonewall Jackson got himself killed by one of his own men. Maybe that will make a difference.” “I sure hope so,” Jordan sighed. The Reverent Mason gave an eloquent sermon that Sunday to a packed congregation. He spoke of the pain families had to endure when their loved ones gave their life to the cause. He named three members of the congregation who had already made the ultimate sacrifice and asked that we all pray for their souls. Ma cried all the way home. Jordan quickly learned to love his new job. Lucas turned out to be a cute red headed ten year old with a winning personality. The boys meshed beautifully for Lucas was eager to learn. Jordan began not by reading but rather by having Lucas learn the escort kocaeli sounds each letter made. Next they worked on a list of three letter words Jordan had compiled. Lucas had to pronounce each letter and then run the sounds quickly together until Lucas recognized the intended word. The word cat became ‘kuh’, ‘ah’, ‘tuh’. Lucas became excited when he recognized the word. He soon had all forty words down pat. The next week Jordan showed what happened when you added an ‘e’ to the end of the three letter word. ‘Bit’ became ‘bite’ and ‘mat’ became ‘mate’. Jordan had a list of forty pairs of three and four letter words. As before Lucas soon conquered all forty pairs. Lucas got so excited he ran into his father’s office just to show him what he could do. The female patient the doctor was examining at the time was not amused. Jordan did not make the method up. With ma’s help it was the way he learned to read even before he entered school. Today it’s usually called the phonetic method. It sure worked for Lucas. They soon graduated to compound words. It wasn’t long after that that Lucas graduated to his first primer. Doctor Richards could not be more pleased. “My boy,” he told Jordan, “You are a natural born teacher. I’m raising your salary to three dollars a week.!” Jordan couldn’t believe his good fortune. With pa’s help he opened his very first bank account. He kept the account book under his pillow and stared at it each night to watch the figures add up. He gave a few dollars to ma too so she could purchase a few things she had her eye on. During this time John was not ignored by any means. They spent many an idyllic hour together. A lot of the time was spent just talking. While the war was discussed they preferred to talk about the future. Of course Jordan explained how well his job was going and the possibility of accepting teaching as their profession. John proved to be a little jealous of Jordan’s success. “I reckon if someone gave me the chance I could teach as well as you,” John said. Instead of getting upset Jordan agreed with him. “I reckon you could too,” he said. “You’re smarter than I am.” “No I ain’t,” John countered, “But it’s pretty close.” The boys were so enamored with each other they found it impossible to ever get mad no matter what either of them said. And then there was sex. Ah yes, there was always sex. As the boys reached their early teens they knew every nuance of each others body. They knew each other so well in fact they sensed each others desire. All it took was a certain smile, a sigh, or a gentle touch and the boys knew instantly what the other one wanted. Both boys strove to pleasure his partner more than himself. Theirs was the strongest love that two boys could possibly experience. All through the winter months Jordan would take Cloud through the town twice a week to the doctor’s house on the north side. It go so that the Richards home became Jordan’s third home after his own and John’s. As a matter of fact he often got asked to stay for supper. The food wasn’t bad but it couldn’t match ma’s cooking. Lucas was advancing so quickly that Jordan began giving him homework. One day he asked Lucas to write himself a story about his dog. He expected a two or three sentence short tale. Instead Lucas filled the page with ten sentences and of course he could read them too. Doctor Richards was so pleased he had the story framed and hung in his office. One day the good doctor exclaimed, “Jordan, if you or your family ever have a medical emergency I’ll come at a moments notice, no charge to you.” Jordan filed the promise away in his mind for future reference. The war ground on into the Spring. Pa pontificated on Saturday evening once more. “It looks like Lee is marching his forces up the Shenandoah Valley. If they stay on that route it will keep them well west of here.” “What about the Union troops? Where are they?” asked ma. Hooker is keeping his troops between Lee and Washington just in case the Rebs get cheeky and turn East.” “Won’t that bring the Union troops close to Gettysburg?” ma interjected. Pa conceded it was a remote possibility. “Well then,” she figured, “Maybe we could see Ben then!” Pa gave ma a look of bemusement. “Look even if Ben was around, he’s going to be far too busy to visit us.” No matter. Ma went to bed that night with her spirits uplifted. It was June 1863 and Jordan was fifteen years old. School was about to end and Dr. Richards had decided to suspend Lucas’ tutoring at least for the summer. Jordan was invited to attend one last get together on the twenty-sixth of the month. The doctor strongly hinted he wanted to pay Jordan a bonus for his exceptional work. Towards the midpoint of the month pa came back from town with some disturbing news. Some town folks were talking excitedly about some apparent clashes that had occurred not too many miles south of town. “I ain’t putting much stock in it,” pa stated. “The paper wasn’t reporting anything significant hereabouts. Anyways any clashes should occur well west of here in the Shenandoah Valley.” Pa was still somewhat concerned though even if he didn’t show it. “If the rebs did show up in these here parts we need to know what to do. We gotta have a plan. Let me do some thinking on it.” Jordan wasn’t convinced he wanted to hide during a battle. The prospect of a battle excited him greatly. If at all possible he would like to see it. On the twenty-sixth Jordan arose bright and early. He milked the cows, put some slop in the pig trough and drew two buckets of water for ma. “You’re as bright and chipper as a Spring lamb,” ma stated. “I’m looking forward to the doctor’s dinner party ma. I want to get there early.” Jordan changed into his Sunday best. Although he knew his reputation was well established in the Richards family, he was taking nothing for granted. He wanted to leave a good final impression before the holidays. Jordan pointed Cloud towards town and headed out. He aimed to reach the good doctor’s house about noon. As he rode along his mind began to drift. He thought of John. What else? He pictured John’s naked body laid out for him to devour. He felt a stirring in his loins. As he entered the edge of town his visions were broken by what he saw before him. Instead of the usual contingent of towns folk the street was almost deserted. What few people there were, were all scurrying about as if they were being chased by imaginary demons. That’s strange Jordan thought. Turning on to the main street he spotted a few uniformed men some blocks away. Aha, Jordan thought. That’s what the commotion is about. The army is here! But then he noticed some other oddities. Groups of men appeared to be cutting down the telegraph poles. One pole already stood at a rakish angle, the lines dangling on the ground. Another group of soldiers appeared to be rushing in and out of the general store filling a wagon parked outside. Strangest of all he could see off in the distance several railway cars burning yet he could see no one trying to put the fire out. He reigned Cloud in, then stood high in the stirrups to get a better look. He was having a difficult time making sense of it all. Then it dawned on him what he was seeing and a shock of fear raced through his body. The soldiers were not wearing kocaeli anal yapan escort blue. They wore grey! Jordan was staring at his first live rebs! He panicked. Spinning Cloud around he dug his heels into the horse’s side and the animal took off at a gallop. Gone was the plan to visit Dr. Richards. He wasn’t so foolhardy as to risk life and limb for a dinner and a bonus. Besides it was infinitely more important to warn his own family of the imminent danger. As he galloped past the first farmhouse he yelled out as loud as he could. “The Rebs are coming. The Rebs are coming.” He didn’t stop to find out if his message had been received. For the moment he felt like Paul Revere. The next farm belonged to the Rose family and he knew he had to make sure they knew of the danger. He tore into their carriage way. Without bothering to tie Cloud up he leaped off his back and burst into the house without knocking. He found the whole family seated about the table having a noon time meal. Jordan couldn’t get his words out fast enough. “They’re here! They’re here! I seen em!” he shouted. “Who is here Jordan?” John Rose Senior inquired. “The Rebs are here! I seen em! They are all over town burning and looting and all kinds of stuff!” “Did you see any fighting Jordan?” Jordan had to think about that one. He had to admit, “Nope, I never saw no fighting.” Mr. Rose probed deeper. “Did you hear any shots Jordan?” “No,” he admitted, “Can’t say that I did, but they are here all right. I saw them!” “But you saw no Union soldiers Jordan?” “No sir. But they sure enough were causing a ruckus. There was a big fire at the rail yard and they was chopping down telegraph poles!” Mr. Rose stroked his chin. “Hmmm,” he said, “It sounds like you saw a raiding party Jordan. How many rebs did you see?” “I dunno. I didn’t count them. There was fifty, maybe a hundred of them. No more than that.” “Yup, that’s what you saw all right. When you see thousands of soldiers that’s when you really have to start worrying. Still it could mean Lee’s army is nearby someplace. I thank you for the warning Jordan.” Jordan turned his attention to John. “You coming with me John? I’d be much happier if we were together.” The Rose parents didn’t flinch. By now they knew the love and adoration the two boys had for each other. “No I can’t,” John replied, “I promised my parents that if the rebs come I would stay and help look after my sisters. You go on. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay.” Jordan stared at his best friend momentarily. He wished with all his heart he could convince John to come. However he also recognized the importance of John’s commitment to his family. “I’ll come by each day to make sure you are all okay,” he promised. “Thank you Jordan,” said a smiling Mrs. Rose. Jordan backed out of the house and jumped back on to Cloud. Jordan was more level headed when he explained his adventure to his own family. Pa summed up his own thoughts on the engagement. “I agree with Mr. Rose’s assessment of the matter. Weren’t no battle, that’s for sure. We are the biggest town around for miles. They probably were short of supplies and came in to replenish. They cut the wires so’s we couldn’t warn the Union Army of their presence. They burned the rail cars thinking it would help prevent getting supplies by rail to the Union cause. If they were here to start a major battle they would have done none of those things. Their visit is a nuisance but my bet is they have already gone by now. There is nothing to worry about.” Jordan let out a big breath of air that he didn’t realize he had been holding. He felt much better. He figured he would visit the doctor tomorrow to make sure they were safe. Jordan got up early the next morning, did his chores and then turned Cloud towards town once more. He didn’t bother telling ma of his plan. She worried too much. The town was as normal today as it was abnormal the day before. The streets were littered with the normal contingent of people all going about their business in a leisurely fashion. The only sign of the visitation were work crews replacing the downed poles. Jordan could also see burned out rail cars off in the distance. He tied Cloud up outside the general store. As he entered the store a conversation was already in progress between the owner and several patrons. “Look at this,” he was telling them. “They even paid me.” With that he tossed a wad of bills on the counter. “Although I don’t know what good this confederate money will do me. It ain’t worth the cost of the paper it’s printed on. The rebs claimed that after they win the war it will be worth more than a yankee dollar. Hmmpf!” Jordan realized the store looked conspicuous by the number of empty shelves it sported. He was glad to find the Richards family safe and sound just as they seemed glad to see him. “We were worried Jordan that you would run into the rebs before you realized they were there. We had no way of warning you.” “Did they come here?” Jordan asked. “Thankfully no, but we were hiding in the cellar just in case.” As Jordan was about to leave Dr. Richards thanked him once more for all he had done for Lucas. He handed Jordan a crisp new ten dollar bill. “This is the bonus I promised you,” he smiled. Jordan was thrilled. It was the first ten dollar bill he had ever owned in his life. The next couple of days was a busy time around the O’Reilly household. Pa had formulated his plan of action in case of attack. He surmised the winter storehouse would be a prime target for any invading army. Accordingly ninety per cent of the stores were transferred to Ben’s hideaway. To that they added additional bedding, clothing, essential kitchen supplies and a stock of firewood. With the creek nearby the family had everything they needed for a long siege. In case of trouble ma and Joshua would live in the cave. Jordan and pa knew they would have to spend some time at the house. All of the animals, the horses, the cows, the pigs and the chickens needed to be tended to on a daily basis. It was the best plan pa could come up with. Pa was also determined to stay on top of the events the best he could. He rode to town each day to speak to the towns people there. A trip to the newspaper office was mandatory. On the twenty-seventh he learned that the entire Virginia army was encamped around Cashtown, just eight miles from Gettysburg. Pa realized that something big was brewing and it was going to be a little too close for comfort. On the thirtieth the O’Reilly clan saw Union troops for the first time. The whole family waved in unison as a magnificent column of mounted cavalry under Brigadier John Buford rode by heading to Gettysburg. Jordan was thrilled by the handsome men in their blue uniforms and brass buttons. Oh how he wished he could mount one of those magnificent steeds and join them. Ma rushed into the house and came out with every loaf she could find. The men were much obliged. Joshua demanded to know when Ben was passing by. Pa later learned a second reb raiding party had invaded the town the same day. This time they were strictly looking for supplies, concentrating it seemed, on finding shoes and boots. The rebs spotted the approaching Union cavalry but did not izmit yabancı escort engage. They retreated to Cashtown while the cavalry took up defensive positions just north of town. Pa also learned that Lincoln was at it again. He had fired Hooker and replaced him with Major General George Meade. As he had promised Jordan rode to the Rose farm late that afternoon just to check on them. They had decided to put their trust in the Lord and stay put. “You can come to Ben’s hideaway,” Jordan offered, “There’s plenty of room.” “Wouldn’t be right,” Mr. Rose explained, “Besides we got our animals to attend to. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be okay.” John and Jordan found a quiet place to be alone for a few moments. They hugged each other passionately. John declared, “I love you Jordan O’Reilly more than anything else in this whole world and that’s a fact!” “No more than I love you,” Jordan responded. “You look after yourself. You hear?” The family saw their first Union infantry late that afternoon. One officer allowed his men to rest by the O’Reilly property. Jordan and Joshua were kept busy bringing out fresh buckets of water for them. The officer admitted that although they were headed just north of town the vast majority of the men some one hundred thousand of them, including all of the artillery were coming up Tannytown Road east of the farm heading for Culp Hill and Cemetery Ridge. They knew they had to hurry. Advance scouts had told them that Lee’s army was advancing fast. Jordan experienced a fitful night. He finally gave up and arose long before the rooster announced the new day. He found pa sitting alone in the kitchen. “I was wrong,” he bemoaned, “And your ma was right all along. The armies are itchin to fight and it’s going to happen right here!” Pa was not one to show lavish emotion but somehow Jordan knew at that moment pa needed a hug. He obliged. Jordan was milking the cows when he heard it first. It sounded like distant thunder on a hot muggy afternoon. He quickly deduced that what he was hearing was the sound of cannons. The battle had begun. “Them cannons are a long ways off,” pa figured. “They gotta be fighting north of town.” “Land sakes,” ma shuddered, “Let’s hope they stay there.” Pa paced the floor as the sound gradually intensified. “I’m afeared the battle has moved south of town. Ma you get Joshua ready. The first sight of activity near our house and we are all going to the hide away. You hear?” Fortunately the sound slowly abated with the sinking of the sun. The first day of the battle was over. Pa chose to reconnoiter the immediate area to decide just how dangerous the situation was. He returned very quickly. Pa burst into the kitchen, his eyes wide. “You ain’t going to believe what I just saw! The whole reb army, thousands and thousands of them are camped just down the road startin less than a mile from here!” Jordan felt his stomach flop over. “The Roses pa. What about the Roses?” Pa stared at his son with a look of absolute pity. “It ain’t good son. Looks like the Rose farm is overrun with rebs.” Tears spurted from Jordan’s eyes. “Oh no!” he wailed. Ma tried to console Jordan with seemingly little results. While Jordan was traumatized to the core he was not immobilized. Even now he was plotting to save John. He had made a solemn pledge that he would come to John in his hour of need and by God he was going to keep that pledge! Jordan knew that his parents would never approve of his plan so it remained a secret. It was about four in the morning when Jordan quietly slipped out of bed. He knew his plan was not complete but there was no time to waste. He’d figure the rest out when he got there. He began on foot crossing his own land heading north towards town. He knew the roads would be controlled by the invading army and he had to avoid them at all cost. Reaching the bottom of the family farm he easily scaled the split cedar fence and carried on. He didn’t know his neighbour’s property too well but it was easy enough to follow the fence lines. His pace gradually slowed, not because he was tired but because the further he went the more likely he was to run into a reb sentry. He had no intention of getting shot if he could help it. After forty minutes the Rose Woods loomed above him. He heard voices nearby and froze in his tracks. The voices had to belong to Reb soldiers. The voices got louder and he realized they were following the edge of the woodlot coming straight towards him. He moved quickly amongst the trees praying that he would snap no twigs in the process. The invaders passed like dark shadows just thirty feet away. He held his breathe until he was sure they were well past. He knew the woods like the back of his hand but in the pitch black the woods lost their familiarity. He and John often had used well worn paths through these woods to reach Devils Den. Again he felt safer avoiding the paths. Without a light, a compass or fence lines to guide him he would have to proceed by dead reckoning. He advanced slowly now moving quietly from tree to tree. He would pause behind each tree making sure the coast was clear before moving on. He listened for sounds. Any sound. His mind began to play tricks on him. The dark shadows of the trees themselves began to look more and more like reb soldiers with their muskets raised high ready to fire. He pondered whether or not he should turn back but then had a vision of a pleading John begging him to come to the rescue. Twice he tripped over an unseen root. Falling heavily to the ground he waited for a sentry to bellow ‘Who goes there?’ Satisfied he was safe once more he rose to his feet and moved ever closer to the edge of the wheat field. Well over an hour after he entered the wood he finally reached the tree line. He rested and peered out into the darkness. This was the part of his plan that was incomplete. He knew the Rose residence lay just eight hundred yards away dead ahead, but there was no cover. The wheat this time of year was just knee high and he’d be spotted easily at first light. The only solution he could think of was to wait all day and then under the cover of darkness traverse the wheat field to the house. What he would find at the house was yet another problem. He’d jump that hurdle when he came to it. It was near dawn now. Streaks of light gradually lit the vista before him. The Rose farmhouse was the first to appear out of the gloom of night. He could make out reb soldiers now milling about the residence. They confirmed who was in control. What he saw next startled him to the core. Reb soldiers, thousands and thousands of them were stacked like cord wood twenty to forty deep behind the Rose fence line along Emmetsburg Road from the woods north around the residence and off towards the horizon as far as the eye could see. He scanned to his right peering far beyond the wheat field to a distant rise that was Cemetery Ridge. He couldn’t make out the individual Union soldiers but he knew they were there all right. The morning sun glinted off a thousand guns like the sun shining on a fresh snowfall on a cold winters morning. Beyond the ridge he could barely make out Culp Hill and Cemetery Hill. He knew the Union cannons would be there. Ben would be there too……. somewhere. He turned his attention back to the Rebs. He could see much fidgeting in the lines now, like a group of runners anxiously waiting for the starting gun to sound. Jordan realized a great battle was about to unfold right before his eyes and he had a front row seat! Please send any comments or suggestions to ail

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