The Confederate soldier and I leveled our rifles at one another across the tangled corn stalks. We each had gotten separated from our units during the battle and were next to a cabin in a hollow that had just been hit by an exploding shell. Excited chickens scurried everywhere. In their midst, a goat bleated as it limped along, its leg apparently hit by a shell fragment. The cabin’s porch roof dangled precariously and from behind a mangled door, a white-haired old woman peeked out at the devastation. On the ridge above, the sounds of the battle moved away.
between two rocks
Looking at the limping goat and then back at me, the Reb slowly lowered his gun and laid it on the ground. Going to the goat, he took some splintered wood and some rags and started to make a crude splint for its leg. Motioning for me to come and help, I cautiously laid my rifle down and went to him. Almost in total silence, we worked that way for the rest of the afternoon. When we finished with the goat, we moved on to making crude repairs to the cabin. As cool darkness settled in the hollow, we gathered wood scraps to make a fire.
the softness of yellow –
The old woman brought us tin plates of beans and fatback pork. Our bellies full, we lay back. I gave him my extra pipe. He shared what little tobacco he had. As we smoked, we traded life stories. He was a young married farmer from Georgia. I was a bachelor bank clerk from New York. The fire died down, we fell asleep and the next morning, he was gone.