Wave the flag slowly: A Gettysburg tale

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 04:37 PM.

More irritated now, Miles asked, “Why are we here and why we should want to kill Yankees? We fightin’ this damn war to keep things just like they are.  Nobody, ‘cept Cap’n McGregror owns slaves. We fightin’ so thangs can stay the same. Remember that day back in Bainbridge: the bands were playin’, flags was wavin’ and next thing all us joined up. We supposed to be killin’ Yankees but all the Yankees I seen look like us. Ain’t no Yankees in Georgia. Cud’n Teddy sez boys is hidin’ in the pine barrens near Eucheeanna to keep from gettin’ drafted.”

“Quiet down Miles,” Levi warned.  “That kinda talk getcha in trouble”

“I ain’t so sure about things no more,” Miles whispered.

The men ate silently and rolled on the bedrolls hoping for sleep. While Miles stayed up all night long poking the fire and gathering extra firewood, Levi kept his back to the flames and stared into the night.

Late the next afternoon they formed for battle and moved up a boulder strewn hill indelibly etched in military lore as Devil’s Den.

Company D men led the charge through the hail of bullets and Lieutenant Parker fell early. There were no formed lines as the men moved up the hill, crouching from one rock to the next. Levi made the top of the hill and saw Noah step from behind a boulder.  Suddenly Noah’s face exploded in a red haze as a Minie ball shattered his forehead. 

“Oh God, oh God,” Levi screamed over the roar of battle. He looked to his left for his other friends and saw Miles laying prostrate, pointing his weapon toward a copse of woods where the Yankees poured fire into Company D. Levi knew Miles had loaded his weapon but would he fire?  The hammer on Miles’ weapon fell, answering Levi’s question. Then Miles dropped his gun and sprinted toward the Yankee lines. Levi followed and found Miles beside a dying Yankee, blood spewing from his jugular vein. 

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