DISCLAIMER: This is a work of historical fiction and any inaccuracies with regard to the names involved are unintentional. Constructive criticism in welcome.

The boy ran on, stumbling and panting. Only 16, the death and carnage had been too much, and he ran out of terror and pain, bleeding from cuts on his upper body.

And the thunder went on.

The boy saw a man screaming and trying to roll his intestines back into his belly. He saw a man three days dead with half his face eaten by scavengers. He saw a great many scenes like unto the Hell his mother had described from the Bible. Still he ran.

And the thunder went on.

Spiteful crackling of gunfire and the shouts and screams of the wounded and the hale from outside the underbrush where he hid. He heard the wails of the dying and the shouts and garbled words uttered by the not-yet-dead.

And the thunder went on.

One of the men had seen him. Ordered him to stop. Nothing could stay out there and live, so on he tried to run. He felt a tugging at his chest and looked down. A spreading red stain, and everything went black.

And the cannons’ thunder faded.


I regret to inform you that your son was shot for desertion in the heat of battle on April 7th 1862 by my hand. I had repeatedly called him to stand fast and he disregarded orders. It is sad that one so young should die in such a manner, and you have my condolences for your loss. I remain,

Cpt. J. Ashmore

8th Illinois

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