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The Silent Guns

The setting sun created an eerie twilight in the woods where only moments before sounds of war raged

The setting sun created an eerie twilight in the woods, where only moments before, sounds of war raged. As the golden orange and red clouds stimulated Privet Barney Jackson’s soul, he thought it was strange that even on the battle field, the sunset was something to behold in awe.
As the twilight gave way to night, he said a small prayer that the war would soon be over and he could go home and watch sunsets from his front porch.
In 1863 near Chattanooga Tennessee, Confederate and Union soldiers had unexpectedly confronted each other resulting in a fire fight for over an hour. Battle worn and exhausted, they soon stopped firing at shadows in the twilight. At long last an unprompted cease fire happened that both sides welcomed. Now, they could at least rest; maybe get some sleep.
A small brook flowed between the two armies in a swift motion. They needed their canteens filled however none of the men would brave the brook for water, expecting to be shot by the opposition, so they sit quickly watching, waiting on any advancement by either side.
Privet Barney Jackson and Corporal Howard Fuller were the youngest of the Confederate patrol. Barney 19, and Howard 23, had been with the Confederate army for a year. Both men were veterans of several combat engagements with Union troops, were of yet, unscathed. They have witnessed the deaths of some of their fellow soldiers. Not understanding why their lives were spared and their friends had to die. Leaving that notion to divine providence, they gracefully accepted each day as a gift knowing that they too could be on the casualty list anytime. 
In the stillness of the night they heard the sound of a whippoorwill in the forest. The gurgling brook was steadfastly moving downstream on its way to the Tennessee River. It was a peaceful ambiance that might be blemished by war at any moment.
 “Do you think those Yankee boys are asleep?” Barney said”
“Some of them maybe,” Howard answered “I expect they have to sleep just like us.”
“Do you think they will attack?”
“I hope not, its to too pretty a night for war.”
The men maintained their attention toward the dark woods focusing on anything that might be moving, although it was hard to distinguish any movement from the only light supplied by a half moon in the clear summer night skies.
A soft growl erupted from Barney's stomach indicating that he was hungry. Harvey heard it and laughed quietly without comment.
”Do you think they have anything to eat”?
“I don't know,” your sure asking a lot of questions” Howard said with a snarl.
‘Just wondering,” Barney said. If we capture them ... we can eat their food”
“Well, you go right on and capture them”Howard said, “I will help you eat the food.”
“I'm hungry as a bear, I probably could eat a bear” Barney said with a light chuckle.
“You had some salt pork and Johnny Cakes yesterday, what you want a streak”?
“I bet them Yankee boys had steaks for supper, or a bear ate them for supper”
“We couldn't be that lucky” Howard said.
“When I get home I am going to have my mama, fix me gravy and biscuits three times a day, she makes the best gravy and biscuits ever” Barney said.
“Well, make sure you invite me”? Howard asked. The night seemed to be at a craw. The men would take turns dozing off getting a few moments of sleep. The silence had become a vexation. Nothing was stirring but the soft breeze rattling the trees.
“You know what Howard? I think them Yankee boys have left” Barney said. “Its too quite out there.
“Could be, who knows?, Perhaps they think we left”
When the light of dawn peeked through the forest, the silence remained. They still were no movement. Through the night the men took turns dozing that gave them precious moments of needed rest.
“Howard, do you ever wonder about heaven? It’s up there isn't it, in the stars.” Barney asked.
“More questions Barney?”
 Howard saw that Barney was serious with this question. He watched Barney with his eyes still focused in the stars.
“Yes, It is there I guess, supposed to be anyway. I think about it a lot, and how quickly I can be sent there, if one of them Yankee bullets hit me. I try to have a peace of mind knowing that it is there if that happens.
Barney, dropped his head, looked at Howard and smiled. I needed that . . . thanks. Someday this war will be over. It can't last forever. Something got to give sometime.”
“ I hope its soon so you can invite me to your home for some of your mamas Gravy& Biscuits.”
When the mortar shell exploded, it induced a deafening effect. The men abruptly awakened from a relaxed claim, suddenly jarred into reality. The cannons fired more shells and rifle shots followed. The war returned with unbridled fury. It had not really gone away, It was put on hold briefly as Privet Barney Jackson could reflect for a moment of going home and eating his mothers gravy & biscuits, and watching the sun set from his front porch.
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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