Wave the flag slowly: A Gettysburg tale

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

Levi sat silently and stared into the distance. He knew the stigma of deserter would stain his friend’s legacy. Levi made eye contact and shook his head.

Levi later learned Will never recovered from his wound and died on the retreat from Gettysburg. For the rest of the war things were quiet for Levi Lewis.  He made corporal, training raw recruits and conscripts.  He caught pneumonia during the winter of 1864 and spent the balance of the war convalescing at home, never killing a Yankee.

In later years he farmed, living by the seasons but often thought about his friend, silently admitting the Miles had been right.  Southern states saved their honor but lost their sons. Slavery was soon replaced by economic, legislative and political servitude.  

After the war, Levi had little use for bravado; it cost him dearly. With a lump in his throat he remembered the day he lost all his friends. Over the years he found peace in Lincoln’s words, “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

In this story, all names are fictional save James McGregor and Virgil Parker. 150 years ago this week, Virgil A.S. Parker was killed in action at Gettysburg and James McGregor lost the use of his left arm from wounds received there.  He is Buz Livingston’s great, great, great grandfather. This story was excerpted and edited from a short story by my father, Mayo Livingston, Jr.

Buz Livingston runs an investment management firm in Blue Mountain Beach. He wrote this column as a “signal milepost” to the bloodiest battle ever fought in North America.



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