I’ve been reading about the Civil War; it’s research for a writing project. If you grew up in the South, like I did in the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil War was still being fought, through the stories told by my father and grandmother, and through the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. I could listen to family and watch news reports of protests, counter-protests, police brutality, and governors trying to prevent integration of state universities.
A great-great uncle died at the Battle of Shilohin 1862; another died in a battle in Texas. But it was my great-grandfather who carried the main family story, because he survived to tell what happened.
Too young to enlist, he served as a messenger boy, part of a Mississippi unit that fought with General Joseph Johnston, the general who surrendered in North Carolina a few weeks after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. He had to make his way home to southern Mississippi on foot, and it took months across a devastated region. When he arrived, he found his family gone. His odyssey continued across Louisiana to East Texas, where he finally found them.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Top photograph: Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
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