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The Father General strikes...

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The Father General strikes...

Post  Father General on Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:53 am

General Lincoln was not a happy man. He had slept poorly and now he was awake at the first inkling of dawn, around 4AM. Yesterday afternoon, that damn fool of a division commander had sent his brigade north on what was certainly a wild goose chase after a phantom Confederate force.

The phantom force may have been real –probably a few bushwhackers, given the region’s sensibilities, but it certainly didn’t warrant delaying the division’s march west.

Now several miles removed from the main body of the division, Lincoln was bound and determined to return and give Platter a piece of his mind. The only consolation would be in the quality of the livestock gleaned from the countryside, as well as some of the cutlery, bagged for General Georgia’s inspection.

His first order of the day was to bring in the pickets and rouse the men for breakfast. In an hour he expected to be shaved, fed, and formed for the return march before the heat became oppressive.

He had an orderly perform the shave, mostly because he couldn’t see as well in the morning twilight. Then he dined on two hardboiled eggs and a cracker. The area was sparsely populated, heavily wooded, and there were few farms and houses worth raiding. They were lucky to find a gentle meadow in which to camp, lest they be forced to pitch tents on the road or amongst the trees and bushes that made movement virtually impossible.

“A whole lot of nothing.” The brigadier muttered to himself.

After making use of the makeshift privy and dressing himself, the general paced about as a detail struck his tent and the companies formed. From companies formed regiments, and with just minutes left until the break of dawn the brigade coalesced in a neat line, four regiments across, footsore but ready to march.

The disgusted general mounted his horse and briefly addressed the formation, announcing their intention to return to the division.

All eyes were fixed on his, except those of one officer, standing before his regiment. The odd colonel was supposed to be standing at parade rest, but he lifted his sword to point to the trees behind the general. A frantic stir went up and down the line as men broke their rest. Someone was screaming giving orders.

The good general had only started to turn in his saddle to see what was causing the commotion when a tremendous volley swept his line, shooting him off his horse. Three volleys, fired with fearful speed and precision, swept the field clean like three scythes through ripened wheat.

As the sun broke over the mountains, the haze of gunpowder lifted on a gruesome scene. Over 1,200 men lay dead, dying and wounded in a writhing mass on the ground, every man felled without firing a shot.

One officer, who would survive despite his wounds, said that afterwards it looked as though a great serpent was winding its way through the trees and bushes to their front, just out of sight. But one thing he saw clearly, and would never forget.

A single unfurled Confederate battle flag flapped for a second through a gap in the trees. On the flag, above the cross of stars was the outline of a chesspiece, a white queen –it was the First Mississippi Volunteer Rifles, all crack shots, and the pet unit of the Father General that fired the first volley of this massacre.

The cries of the wounded filled the meadow as the Father General’s Mississippi brigade wound its way back into the mountains. The veterans were too hardened to care.

Father General

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