Wave the flag slowly: A Gettysburg tale

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

“I killed him, Levi, I killed him,” sobbed Miles. “I meant to fire over his head. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. I should have never loaded the damn thang. Look, he was not even aimin’ at us!” In the dead soldier’s hands were blood-soaked rosary beads.  No percussion cap was on his rifle. Both knew he meant them no harm. 

“What have I done!” Miles screamed then he fell on his knees vomiting uncontrollably. 

“Noah’s dead; where is Will?” Levi yelled over the whine of bullets. 

Through the gunpowder smoke, Will limped past them, grimacing in pain, blood squirting from a leg wound.  They tied a tourniquet around Will’s leg and took him to a surgeon’s station. Levi then turned to Miles and saw him trotting through the melee of supply wagons, men, caissons and ambulances. He chased his friend, yelling for him to come back but Miles was too far ahead. Miles climbed on top of a fence, waved to his friend then disappeared. 

Levi knew his friend was gone forever.

Later that night an orderly came around compiling a casualty list. He called for Miles Jackson. Levi thought for a moment and said, “Miles Jackson, Killed in Action.” 

“Didn’t he come back with you?”

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