30 Stories in 30 Days #8 – “Fluid History”

Fluid History

July 1

My dearest Anna,

There looks to be a battle today.  We’ve been chasing the Rebs for days, but we’ve finally caught up to them outside this town named Gettysburg.  In case I don’t survive, I wanted you to know of my undying love for you and that I will await you in the next world.  All my love to my mother and the kids.


July 4


The Rebs broke through the line yesterday cutting us in half.  I doubt I will survive the battle today.  I love you.


July 9

My dearest Anna,

I am alive.  Another is writing this letter for me.  A cannon ball ripped my rifle from my hands, taking the first two fingers of my right hand with it.  I haven’t had the time to practice writing left handed.

I don’t know how much you have heard of the battle, so let me give you the brief details.  For two days we fought, neither gaining a decisive victory.  But our side was able to hold the more advantages ground.

Then on the third day, Bobby Lee sent a massive attack on our center.  At first we held, but then we broke.  I don’t know if anyone knows what happened exactly, because from then until night fall we were like two wild cats fighting, screeching and rolling around the landscape in a cloud of dust and smoke.

Night fall found us split with a heavy force of Rebs between us.  In the morning we set out to reconnect.  The Rebs must have used most of their powder the previous day.  They quickly went from fighting to surrendering.  By the afternoon, with most of his army dead or captured, Bobby Lee surrendered the rest.

I wasn’t able to see that.  I had been wounded by then, and I was sitting in the shade of an overturned wagon waiting for the doctors to finish sawing off arms and legs to look at my hand.

With a minor wound, I was put to work taking water to men missing more than a few fingers.  Then last night we were told the order President Lincoln sent to General Meade, “You will either lead your army to Richmond, or you will follow the army to Richmond.” Since there’s nothing wrong with my feet, I’m marching to Richmond.  I probably won’t hold a rifle again, so I’ll probably be used as a runner.  Assuming the war isn’t over in a few weeks.

Our rest is almost over, so I shall end this with all my love.


One Response to “30 Stories in 30 Days #8 – “Fluid History””

  1. I first had this idea several years ago. I think I had read a collection of alternate history stories and had been annoyed with some of them. It seemed like if they wrote a story where Pickett’s Charge had succeeded, it could only lead to the Confederates winning the war. So I wrote a story where Pickett’s Charge succeeds to split the Union line, and the result is the Confederates lose the war sooner.

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