A "Tentative" (see Footnote 1) Excerpt from Raisins and Almonds---A Civil War Story:---   

The Wilderness in the spring of 1864:  The troops were marching west and to the south from the mouth of a bold, unnamed creek alongside a narrow country road when John's brigade and battery halted to allow another division to move on up and into the battle that lay ahead. Across the road was an old log shanty, and there, on a rough-hewn plank bench beside the sagging structure, sat a young southern belle combing her hair in the early morning sunlight. She was dressed in clothes that had seen better times, and she wore no shoes. It appeared that she had been bathing in the creek just before the troops came passing through. Seemingly, she paid no mind to the gawking men as they gathered in bunches for an even closer look. Not satisfied with just watching her every move, the boys began to engage her with questions---


"Hey thar pretty girl, whatcha' doin' up so early this fine mornin'?"

"I be mind-in' me own busy-ness, w'ich be mor'n you'ens ar' a-doin' ratch nah!"

"Oooh!" the men all reeled in unison. "Well, beg your pardon ma'am, but tell us this much --- would you have a boy-friend?"

"Yaas, I duz."

"So you say, but where is he now?"

"Oh, he's down yonder. Y'all be a-gwine down whar he be."

"Ar'n't you afraid we'll shoot him and he'll never come back?"

"Dunno 'bout dat...fer he be a mighty good shot his-self!" And as she rose from her seat, she put her comb down on the bench and as she did so, a smile soon crept across her face. Then, with a toss of her head, she flashed her dark eyes at her assembled audience, coyly adding--- "No, I 'spect he'll be back so's I wouldn' be a-runnin' off wit one o' y'all!"


There followed a burst of laughter from one and all, including the young lady herself--- but just then the command, "Fall-In" was heard up and down the line. And to a man, their smiles quickly disappeared--- hers included--- as all thoughts turned to the grimness of the battle that lay ahead. And so they began moving out in columns of twos, each alone with their private thoughts. But as they approached the bend in the road, they turned their heads toward the young girl they were leaving behind. She was still standing there beside her bench as they waved their farewells. And she would return their gestures, trying as best she could to single out each man so that she could remember them for the boys they really were. And then they were gone--- gone to their duty in the battle that would surely come their way "down yonder".[1]




[1] This fictional passage appears in my "Raisins and Almonds---A Civil War Story". It relates to a chance encounter 'somewhar's' in the "Wilderness Campaign" leading up to the Army of the Potomac's historic siege of Richmond and Petersburg during the period, 1864-65. However, my fictional account is largely based on a similar incident reported as having actually taken place--- not as in my fictional description of the "Wilderness Campaign", but in the equally real "Atlanta Campaign" of 1864 at a place called "Snake Creek Gap" as reported by historians Thaddeous C.S. Brown, Samuel J. Murphy, and William G. Putney--- "Behind The Guns" --- The History of Battery I, 2nd Regiment, Illinois Light Artillery--- a textbook published by Southern Illinois University Press in Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL, 1965, pages 88-89. Their book,  "Behind The Guns", is in turn based on "a collection of regimental publications of the Civil War"  --- a collection owned by Mr. James S. Schoff, then a resident of New York City. Because of such a "historical link" to a previously published event that reportedly took place at a different time and place during the Civil War, I'm not sure whether such a fictional account as mine will ever make it into "Raisins and Almonds" , either with or without attribution. This is an issue for my eventual publisher to decide.



As for the music you hear, it's William Byrd's "John, Come Kiss Me Now" --- a song that predates the Civil War

And here's a recording of me reading this passage should you care to hear it:---