It is a wonderful sight before my eyes, one that I promise myself I will never forget. Ahead of me and behind me, one can see the thousands of blue troops marching off to glory. They, like me, are fighting to preserve the union and we all can agree that soon we can all become heros. I wonder what it will be like, becoming a hero. Whether I will sned the rebels running in terror as I pull the trigger of my rifle or leave them to die, along or in the hands of their friends. There is only one of them that I even think to worry about, James, my younger brother.
I train my eyes for a moment on the man marching in front of me and wonder if he feels an excited engery pulshing through him as I do. After all, today is the day that we will send those rebels running and it is the day that we can bring the union back together. It is the 21st of July, 1861.
We continue marching and I hold my head up proudly. The way I see it, it is a great honor to be a soldier and I am sure this day will end in victory. It is with this thought that I first hear the cannon fire. A mixture of fear and excitement courses though me and runs along my spine. The sound is louder then I've been expecting and it seems so close that it can't be long now before we are in action.
The pace of the march seems to quicken and I hurry to keep up with them, another cannon sounding even closer then the last one. I'm guessing that is because we keep moving closer. And then there is is in front of me, a spread of soldiers and others who appear to have come just to watch the battle. I hope that we are able to put on a good show.
For a moment the picture is posed in manificant glory, one you may only expect to find on a stage. But then, in a split second it changes into something more. All at once we raise our guns, fire and sprays of blood seem to fill the air. I run forward with my company when suddenly the man beside me is hit with a bullet that completely slices him open. While I want to turn away, it is not always as easy as it seems and so for a moment I don't move, in shock as the other man's blood soaks into the ground, his insides open for the whole world to see. I start to feel sick and twist away from the gruesome sight, resisting the earge to thro up in the grass at my feet.
I tell myself to keep moving and so I do, my feet feeling like rubber. It is easy to say that I am terrified and I wonder that no one else can hear my pounding heart but no one so much as looks at me. To them, I am just another soldier in their company, regiment and maybe to them it seems that I am in shock. I'll prove them all wrong as it is still possible I can turn myself into a hero.
Everyone should be moving as one, like we were doing not so long ago but now we probaly appear more like a blue mob to the enemy. We all force our way forward, pushing the ones who are too slow out of our way. It is too bad that I'm one of the slow ones. As I take another step there is a loud explosion right in front of me and I am sent flying backwards. When I land, I curl into a ball, terrified to even move an inch. An hand is placed on my shoulder. "You okay Virginia Boy."
It is a jobe with my company, all the other called me Virginia Boy because I fight for the North when my home is in the South. I open my mouth to speak but my whole body feels numb and no sound comes out. "He's just in shock," another voice says, "Leave him be, there's not a drop of blood on him."
Their footsteps fade away and I struggle to breathe, the terror lacing through every cell in my body. I try to tell myself that I am luckier then most but that doesn't help and all thoughts of becoming a hero have escaped my head. All I want to do is try to survive and make it through the battle that surrounds me.
Carefully I sit up and look myself over. The other man is right, I am not injuried but that doesn't help to ease the terror. From my eyes, I can see the ground strunned with fallin bodies and there is blood wet on the grass. This sight is enough to make me want to get out of here and I scramble to my feet. Grabbing my rifle, I stumble a few feet after my company. They aren't too far ahead of me, which I am glad about. I wouldn't want to have to look for them in this place of hell.
More shots ring out right in front of my and I jump in fright, feeling vunable and out in the open where I stand. I duck, fall down and half-crawl, half-walk the rest of the way to my company. I raise my rifle to fire a shot when I feel a sharp punch in my arm and I land on my back for the second time today. There is no pain, only a strange, dull feeling and I roll over, getting back to my feet and trying to igmore the blood soaking my still clean uniform. If it's still clean after this it'll be a miracle.
Someone grabs my good arm and I turn around to look at him. "What is it? Get off me!"
Suddenly it seems that I have the need to keep going, mostly because I want to try and see if James is alright. But the man doesn't take his hand away, he keeps a tight grip on me as I try to break away. "You're injuried, I'm taking you back to the main lines where you will be safe."
My legs tremble from having to support my weight and it feels like I am living a dream. But the man is talking sense, the pain is starting to overwhelm me and I sink to my knees and bury my face in one hand. There is no honor or glory. Instead the only think I can sense is a long and bloody war, one that will bring us all to hell and back again.