Sam woke with a crick in his neck and a sore backside. He stretched, trying to ease the hurt in his muscles. In the past two years, he’d slept more nights with a tree canopy for a roof than anything manmade, and he still wasn’t used to it.
With a group of soldiers bound for South Carolina, he’d followed the main road into Chatham, a small Southern town typical of its kind a day’s walk from Appomattox. The smithy and stable, the general store, and a few other establishments lined the town’s main street. Also lining the street had been townspeople with rifles and pistols.
“Just keep on moving through,” said a large man in clothes worn but still presentable. “We don’t mean to be inhospitable, but we’ve had too much trouble with soldiers and others. Keep moving and we’ll all get along just fine.”
A few soldiers had looked as if they were ready to be less than accommodating but were stopped by others. Sam kept walking, wondering if this is what returning soldiers would find everywhere – frightened people trying to protect what little they had left.
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