Chapter 16

Fading Memories

July 6, 1863

Darkness was falling over Richmond, Kentucky as Ana made her way to the local hospital. Ana had finally returned to Kentucky with Henry. Betsy had been terribly emotional when they left. Leah and Mack, along with their new baby, were there to bid Ana farewell.

"You could come with me to Kentucky Betsy," Ana had suggested as they stood on the mountain outside the old cabin.

"I reckon I'd better stay up here on these mountains," Betsy said with tears in her eyes.

"I will miss you Betsy. I can't thank you enough for what you've done for me," Ana said giving Betsy a hug.

It was a sad day for those present but as Ana and Henry road down the mountain in an old wagon, Ana knew that the friends she had made on the mountains would never be forgotten. She had changed from a timid and shy young girl to an independent and courageous young woman since she had been on the mountain. She had changed so much and it would be hard to go back to the carefree life that she had once lived.

Now in Richmond, Kentucky everything seemed different. The war had done damage to the countryside and things had changed in the town Ana had so loved. A hospital had been set up for the wounded soldiers who were passing through town. And those in need of help. Ana had decided to help at the hospital. They had been very grateful for her help because they were short of help.

Stepping into the hospital, Ana removed her bonnet and shawl. She looked around the hospital and sighed. It was filled with wounded soldiers in need of help. Walking over to where the doctor stood, Ana asked, "Doctor, what can I do?"

"Oh thank goodness you're here Ms. Williams. I need you to give the soldiers on that side over there, some medicine for the pain," the doctor said.

Ana nodded and went to do as he had requested. As she went down a row of soldiers, some lying on the floor on blankets, others on cots, Ana suddenly saw a soldier who looked familiar. The soldier was lying on the floor on a blanket and his head was bandaged up but he looked to be in terrible pain. He appeared to be crying and Ana's heart went out to him. She knelt down beside him and touched his hand. He glanced up at her.

"Ana? Is. . .is it you?" the young soldier asked barely able to talk.

Ana looked into the young man's eyes and suddenly it occurred to her who he was.

"Jacob! Oh Jacob what are you doing here?" she asked clutching both his hands in her own.

"Ana. . .Ana," Jacob whispered as tears fell down his bandaged face.

"What happened to you?" Ana asked as tears formed in her eyes.

"I was fighting at Gettysburg when. . .when it happened. It was terrible Ana. Men were dying all around me. My friend, Mark Linton that was with me, I don't know if he's alive or not," Jacob said crying.

"Shhh, don't cry Jacob. Everything is going to be alright," Ana said trying to comfort the man that she loved.

Jacob raised his tear filled eyes to Ana. He wanted so desperately to tell her again of the love he felt for her. But he didn't say anything for there was not time.

"Ana. . .I. . ." he tried to say but the life went out of him and he passed away.

Realizing that Jacob had died, Ana was unable to move. She sat there clutching his cold hands and staring upon his now lifeless face. The moment was so horrifying and shocking to her. She heard nor saw anyone or anything around her. She had let the time pass by without telling him that she did love him. Now he was gone.

"Oh Jacob! Please forgive me. I do love you. I was just too foolish to see it. Please don't go," she said as her shoulders began to shake with sobs.

Jacob had been buried in a mass of graves. Ana found it hard to go on. She had lost her father and now Jacob. The war had brought so much death and pain and she hated it.

To Be Continued. . .