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A Message and a Bottle

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A Message and a Bottle

Post  MajorByrd on Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:34 am

It was dark outside.

General Seitzinger sat in his tent, holding the bottle of Kentucky Bourbon and the letter sent by M. T. Georgia, the Scourge of the Shenandoah.
Legs crossed, Seitzinger's gaze pierced the golden liquid and lost itself amongst the veil of rain.

"What a day" he mumbled to himself.

"Smith" Seitzinger yelled. His adjutant's head popped through the tent's flap.

"Yes Sir?"

"Come in man, sit yourself down. Raining cats and dogs today."

The adjutant entered, shook his head briefly and sat down on a small stool across the General.

Seitzinger popped open the bottle. Smith watched curiously. He knew that Seitzinger did not drink himself. His commander revered General Robert E. Lee under whom he served in Mexico. He shared in his ardent abhorance of liqor. Smith expected to be offered at least a small cup of what seemed to be an excellent drop of Whiskey.


But it was too late. Seitzinger emptied the bottle onto the floor and Smith had to bear witness to the sweet dew disappearing between the floorboards of his Generals tent.

He could have at least let him have a drop to warm himself on this cold night. 'Damn this abstinent fool' he thought, but there was no use to crie over spilt whiskey. Not even over Kentucky Bourbon.

"Sir, if I may inquire, where did you get that bottle from?"

Seitzinger lifted his gaze.

"It was sent to me by General Georgia..."

By General Georgia? Scourge of the Shenandoah? Why would he send whiskey?

"The bottle arrived in the company of a letter."

"May I inquire as to it's contents Sir?"

Seitzinger seemed to have overheard his adjutant's inquiry.

"Sir may I...."

"He is a Gentleman. I will say this much about the man. But we must not forget what he has done to the good people of the Shenandoah. One can think of McClellan's retreat whatever one desires but one thing is for certain; he did not wage war against civilians. We do not wage war against the innocent. No Sir."

Smith obediently listened to his General's words, curiously waiting for word on the letter's contents.

"He offered me free passage to look for the Father General's Division in the western mountains of Maryland. He said that he will not bother my command and that I can withdraw to Winchester after I have concluded my affairs in the West."

Smith could not hide his confusion. "But Sir, is that not a good thing?!"

"Is it Smith? Is it?"

How the hell would he know?! He knew better than to swear aloud in the presence of the General so he quietly declined to answer what he took to be a rethorical question.

"Well let me tell you Son, IT BLOODY WELL ISN'T!" Seitzinger stood up furiously. His blood was up. His infamous temper which he had always struggled to curtail in the presence of other men seemed to have gotten the best of him.

Smith was baffled by his commander's sudden outburst of fury.

"I shall not under any circumstances enter into a pact with the enemy, Gentleman or no. No Sir I shall not. Seddon be damned! The Lost Division be damned! While better men struggle in the defence of our capital and our most distant borders, I'm dispatched on a fool's errand. There is no honor in this Sir, no there is not!"

Smith, deprived of thought and word straigthened in his chair.

"I must see my Lieutenant's Smith. All of them."

"Now Sir?!" It was already late at night and Smith did not look forward to waking General Baylor up for no good reason but Seitzinger's outburst.

"Of course not. Next week will do fine. OF COURSE BLOODY NOW MAN."

Smith snapped to attention and ran off.

Seitzinger had made his decision, he knew what had to be done.

Battle was nigh. The smell of powder being burnt and the sight of men doing their duty made Seitzinger shiver.

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