Escaped Union (tentative)
The camp had been up for a few weeks now. It had no signs of being put down since the officers hadn't made any plans of attack, or to leave for that fact. It was the nighttime and few people where still up. There was a town a mile or two away, yet the enlisted men where banned from going to it. Yet it didn't stop some people from going to it anyway. In fact one enlisted soldier went to the town almost every night. No one ever said anything about it though, why would they? The man slept in the tent next to Dan and Cort's. Yet no one said anything about him leaving because he was the odd man, he didn't have anyone to sleep with and he didn't have a full tent. The man mainly kept to himself though. He seemed to have a good amount of many though. The man didn't seem like he liked being in the army, and would come out of what he was able to do with half the tent.
The horns went off with the reveille. Everyone had to run out and fall into formation. It was time for everyone to get his ration for the day. We where issued 1 lb. of cornmeal, 10 lb. rice, 10 lb. green coffee, 8 lb. ground coffee, 1 lb. tea, 15 lb. sugar, 1 lb. of candles, 4 lb. of soap, and 1 qt. molasses. Not everyone actually kept all of the rations they would get. Most of them would trade with others for things that they had liked more, or sell them to the hungrier of people. I usually kept all of mine. I wasn't that good of a cook, as if there was much to cook with anyway. Sometimes some of the men would kill some of the animals in the woods nearby and eat that. The man from the tent next to us… Ashley, he preferred ash, would always take the bones from the animals. It's not that he wanted to eat them or anything like that. He actually had a small little business hidden behind the officer's backs. He would take chunks or would, rocks, bones, anything that could be carved or changed into something else. He would take them and makes little game piece and boards out of them, then sell the games to the enlisted people in the camp.
There was something strange with the guy that slept with me in my tent though. He would never take off his heavy cloths, even in the hottest of weather he would keep on his heavy jacket. You could see how hot he was through it, yet every time you tried to ask he why he wouldn't take it off, or why he was wearing it, he would always walk off or try to avoid the subject all together. He would always go to sleep with it on too. Actually he never really talked much either, and his voice seemed different from most of the other men in the regiment. In basic training, Dan was one of the fastest and more agile people. He was a great shot, and was great with a knife or bayonet. He seemed to live for the battles, and couldn't wait to get in his first one. Yet he seemed so fear full about any of the guys that tried to get close to him. After a few weeks of actually being in the camp I have been able to get him to talk to me. He still didn't talk much though, but at least I got him to talk, even just that little amount. He still refused to talk to other people though; heck he would only talk to the officers if he were forced too.
Being in the camp isn't the worst thing that could happen to us. It's not really the best thing either. None of us aside from the officers have seen any fighting yet, although it is still pretty early in the war. There have been no casualties and no one has gotten sick. One of the worst things about being here so long is the boredom. There really isn't much to do aside from playing board games, or writing. Since I'm not much of a writer I'm stuck playing board games or cards. We do gamble, but we really aren't supposed to. We don't really have any real poker chips to gamble with, yet we make do with what we already have. We crush our bullet into small little disk, so they are flat, and use those. I'm not really got at the gambling though and usually loose my money. But at least it's something to do right? Ash seems to make a lot of money from the game. With all of his winnings in the gambling and the items he sells, I'm sure he gets more money then most of the officers. Yet none of the officers really know about it.
One night I saw Dan writing in a journal. Yet he tried to hide it the second I saw it, like he didn't want anyone knowing that he even had one. I pretended like I didn't see anything on the other hand, I wouldn't want him knowing that I knew I saw it. I would have to try and steal it from him though, I should be able to, and he couldn't hide it forever. Perhaps there is a chance that I will be able to find out why he doesn't talk to anyone, or why he won't bath or go to the bathroom with anyone else around. The only problem was, I wasn't actually too stealthy. I would get caught doing almost absolutely anything. I'm sure if I paid that ash guy he would be able to get it for me. Yet everything that he did for someone that he could get in trouble for always cost more.
A few days later when I got my paycheck, during the night before taps, I went into his shambles of a tent. It seemed like he was carving something but he quickly put his knife into his gear and moves something a crossed his arm. He picked up some sort of cloth and quickly wiped the desk asking what I wanted in a harsh tone that kind of freaked me out. Yet when I asked him what he was trying to carve, he only quickly dismissed it and quickly asked me what exactly I wanted. I told him about the man in my tent and that I saw him writing in some kind of journal. I asked him if he would be able to get me the journal that the man was writing in without anyone else finding out about it. He agreed but he took all of my pay and said it could take a few weeks. I nodded my head and quickly and turned to leave. There was something strange about that guy. I guess everyone has his own little secrets though. Yet the people around here seemed to have many, to many.
A few days have passed since my meeting with ash; I haven't seen Dan writing in his journal though. He seemed to be keeping it from me a lot better since I found out. It's ok though the least he will expect when it goes missing. One of the men found and killed two foxes today. Ash seemed pissed at him and was about to fight the man until some one had held him back. Ash was everywhere the fox where when the man had killed them. He came back with something hidden in his hands, yet he put it inside of his tent before anyone could see what it was. He has become very picky about people coming into his tend after the killing of the foxes though. He wouldn't even let an officer into the tent when he was told to. I tried a few time to go and talk to him about the journal, yet he only turned away and said he was going to gut me with his knife if I didn't leave the proximity of his tent. He hasn't been falling out to get his rations lately either, or for that matter carving much. In fact at nights you can sometimes see him going into the woods instead of the town now. It seems as though he had been picking berries out there, yet no one could figure out why. I figured he wasn't going to give me the journal anymore and just started to stray away from him, like everyone else had already done.
Talk had started to circulate around the camp about us going out to war soon. It seemed like only a rumor but oh how much everyone hoped to get out of the camp. The days where slowly growing longer and longer as the activities grew more and more tiresome. People slowly started getting rid of their unneeded things; they didn't want to be overloaded while walking around to their battle. I was the same way, yet it seemed too good to be true. The camp was starting to seem like a jail and I was thinking of trying to run away. Of course I would never do such a thing; it was only a thought. It had crossed the minds of a few of the other soldiers. You could see it in their eyes. While I was getting rid of some of my things I noticed something sitting on my tent mate's bed. It was his journal. It seemed that he left in such a hurry that he had forgotten about it. I reached out for the thing but my hand started shaking. I had to pull my hand back, what was I doing. I couldn't go through such a thing as reading some one else's personal thoughts. I may not have been the best of readers but I would have been able to make at least some of it out.
The guy that killed the foxes so very long ago seems to be torture ash. He talks to him a lot about something; I don't know what he says; yet it seems to get ash pissed. I can't bear to watch it happening. It just seems so wrong but I feel powerless to stop it. I don't want to get into a fight with a fellow soldier, yet I don't want to see one get made fun of by another either. If only I was able to do something about it, yet I wasn't even able to read someone else's journal, how would I be able to stop two full-grown soldiers from fighting? Even worse how would I be able to stop it when one of them scares me? The officers came by and told us that we where moving out in a day. We where to report in the morning and have everything ready and packed up by reveille.
Everyone slept well that night; they where all so excited about going out to war that they couldn't do anything else but sleep, well except for one. Ash seemed to detest going out to war and seemed pissed just at the thought of it, no one suspected him to do something so drastic about it though. That night ash had gotten up and loaded his musket. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around something then left his tent with only his jacket and musket in hand. He paid a little visit to the mans tent that had shot the foxes. He pointed the musket directly at the mans head then pushes it forward and towards the mans skull. The attack made a crack in the mans skull and scarlet blood slowly oozed out of the skin around it. The man woke up almost instantly and so did his partner in the tent. His eye's where that of a frightened child as his body tried to recoil inside of his bed on the ground, there was a loud bang as resign quickly escaped throughout the musket and blood scatter among the ground, all the men quickly got out of there bed grabbing there own guns, empty though, and run to see Ash fleeing into the woods. There was a large gash on his arm though and a little creature poking his head out of the jacket. Ash had escaped and became a wanted man; it seemed as though his first attempts where to cut off his arm to get discharged. Yet he found a baby fox where the two older foxes had died, he had cared for it. The officers came out and made everyone go back to their tents.
The next day when we had gotten up, we all packed all of our stuff and went into formation. The generals and some drummers would usually be in the back, so that they wouldn't get shot first, almost as if they where using us as some kind of poor shield. I was marching next to Dan. I wonder if he stalks me, it was his idea to tent with me in the first place. We where marched into the woods, in a long line that had a small width. The path really wasn't that flat but it didn't seem to bother anyone that much, most of them seemed happy just to get out of the comp. The drummer for the group was a little boy, there where other boys in the group of people, but they weren't actually there legally no one really seemed to mind them, not everyone even knew that some of them where kids, while others had come in with their parents of siblings.
We came up to a field, with two fences and a bit of dirt dug up behind each one. There where confederate soldiers on the far fence on the other side. There where union soldiers at the fence that we where next to. We where all then given orders to line up along that fence and load our rifles, this was going to be where we would battle. There where a few shots being fired yet is didn't actually seem like the battle had started, that was probably a good thing. When I got into position on the fence, Dan had took position right next to me, I expected him to do it. We would stand up in the position of attention and waited for the order to load our muskets. When the order was given, we move the but of the rifle to the right of our left foot. We would then open our cartridge box and pull out one cartridge. I bit onto the bullet and tore down on the packet of powder to release the two. I poured the powder and the paper that held it into the muzzle of the gun. I took the bullet from my mouth and dropped it into the muzzle as it quickly fell and made slight clanking sounds about the inside of the musket. I pulled the ramrod from the gun and pushed it into the muzzle pushing everything inside down. I took the ramrod out of the muzzle and put it back into the position it was in the gun. I then picked up the gun and held it in my hands, pulling the hammer back to the half-cock position. I opened my cap box next and took one of the caps out and then closed the box so none of the others could fall. I then put the cap on, underneath the hammer and moved to the ready position for further orders.
We where then given the command to fire. I lifted up my gun and cocked it. Then I took aim at one of the soldiers on the other side of the line. I put the but of the gun into my shoulder. The hammer on Dan's gun came down upon the cap and ignited the gunpowder sending down the bullet through the barrel of the musket. Resign seeped out of the muzzle of the gun for a few seconds as a few of the soldiers on the other side of the field went down, from all the firing. I pressed the trigger to no avail. It didn't want to move, it wouldn't move al all. My hands started to shake and the gun shook with it, loosing my aim. I watched as the people on the other side of the line went down, while others shot back take some of our men down. I lowered my gun slowly as my body trembled a little bit at just the though of what I was about to do. I couldn't actually kill someone. That would be so wrong. Taking down your fellow man for the thought to control them. I stepped back and dropped the musket to the ground as a stick got stuck in the trigger and pulled it back, causing the gun to fire and the gun to be thrown back a crossed the ground. I winced a little bit and dove down to the ground shaking slowly.
I watched what was happening slowly thinking of how to get myself out of this mess. I watched as one of the men coughed up some blood as he slowly choked upon it. Blood was slowly coming out of out of his chest area, around where his lungs would be. I looked at Dan; He was pretty quick with the musket. I can't see how someone could actually kill another human being; it just seems to wrong. I looked around; the generals weren't even near the entrance to the forest. I could run away. I looked back up at Dan to see him get shot, just above the chest near the left shoulder. He fell back and grabbed the wound then looked around with a worried look upon his face. Yet it didn't seem like he was really worried about the wound that he had just acquired. No it was something else he then looked at me and got close asking me what I was doing. I told him that I wasn't able to shoot a single person. That I didn't think it was right and couldn't see how he could do it so easily. I then told him that he should find one of the doctors; h couldn't survive with that wound on his arm. He bit his lip and looked away saying that he wouldn't be able to. I got up and ran into the woods as fast as I could. I left everything I had on the battlefield; to my surprise Dan had followed me.
Later on I found out that Dan was actually a girl and didn't want anyone to find out. It didn't really help either of us much though since we did run away from a fight. We couldn't go back to any of the towns, but Dan wouldn't survive with the bullet in her arm. We had to figure something out, somehow, someway.