Moonlight Understanding

Inspired by the music by Randy Edelman, General Lee at Twilight. Not sure how good it actually is, but it wouldn't leave me alone. So here you are! Enjoy!

It was late. The full moon had risen high above the Confederate camp, its glow filtering weakly through tent walls. Jem shifted on his rickety cot, trying to find sleep. He could not. There was silence outside, and yet there was sound as well. Not the sounds of camp during the day, no, but the sounds of the night. Crickets chirped, the wind rustled the leaves. It wasn't at all disturbing, though, but very peaceful.

A slight, soft rustle caught Jem's ear. He raised his head as he saw a silhouette pass by his tent. Slowly, he rose and looked out, curiosity getting the better of him at last. A single figure stood near the fence, gazing silently out into the night. With a shock, Jem realized it was the Old Man. General Lee.

Lee did not seem to realize Jem was watching. He merely stood, looking toward something the younger soldier could not see. Jem thought of their defeat earlier in the day, how the Yankees had just... kept… fighting. And the Yankees had won. So many had been lost, for both sides. The Old Man, standing among his men afterwards, claiming the responsibility, and the men helplessly denying it.

Jem knew what a burden this must be for him, to say that he was the one at fault. Such a weight was on his shoulders, as it had always been. But now, Jem could see it clearer than ever. As he watched Lee from the flaps of his tent, he could feel that burden as though it were his own, the great heaviness…

After several moments more had passed, Lee turned away and Jem returned to his cot. As he lay down, surrounded in the quiet of the night once more, he realized slowly, that he could understand his general more than he had realized.