I don’t know about you, but I love me some totally random facts! And even more so, I love me a totally random battle that not many people have heard about! So today, we are going to look at what many say is the actual first battle of the War Between the States!
1| Where and When. This battle took place on June 10th, 1861, 160 years ago! The battle took place in Big Bethel Virginia and is one of the lesser-known battles of the war.
2| It All Happened Here. Many people refer to either Ft. Sumter or First Manassas when talking of the first battle of the War Between the States. But Big Bethel is actually the first.
3| Looking at the Numbers… As with most battles of the war, the Confederate Soldiers were outnumbered. They had under 1,500 men while the Union invaders had around 3,500. But you know us, that makes the odds about even! *halo*
4| The Men Behind the Moment. Two lesser-known Generals were in command of the opposing armies. For the federals, Brigadier General Ebenezer W. Peirce led them into battle. For the Confederacy, it was Colonel John B. Magruder.
5| Confederate Gold Star Family. This battle saw the death of the very first Confederate soldier in the field. Private Henry Wyatt was the sole Confederate soldier killed in the battle, the only fatality of 8 Southern soldiers injured.
6| How did he Die? Being the first enlisted casualty of battle, it’s no wonder we know how it happened. Colonel D. H. Hill requested 4 volunteers to set fire to a house federal troops had commandeered and were using to pin down the Southern troops with their firepower. Henry was one of them. They never made it to the house, and Henry died in the line of fire.
7| The Fate of the House. After Henry’s death, the volunteers were recalled and the house was taken out by artillery fire.
8| Why Here? Confederate Forces hoped to dislodge troops from Ft. Monroe, reclaiming it for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, the same fort where Custis Lee (Robert E. Lee’s son) was born at remained the only Southern Fort in Virginia to remain in federal control through the entire war.
9| Tar Heel Legacy. North Carolina has often been known as the state that was “First at Big Bethel and Last at Palmito Ranch.” We lost more soldiers than any other state and sent the most men to the Confederate Army. As usual, we had a big hand in the events at the battle of Big Bethel.
10| The Victorious Victors *Halo* The Confederacy of course. They couldn’t let the first battle at home be won by the opposing army!
Have you heard of this battle before today? Is this the first time? I encourage you to do some research and share some of your findings in the comments below!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
It's Memorial Day!! What better way to honor those who gave it all on a book blog then to share about a book with the same goal in mind? This is probably one of my top books of the year so far, so without further ado, let's get into it!
Oh, the Fallen
Abigail Kay Harris
May 31st, 2021
Military Romance (Mild)
Recommended 12+ for Understanding
About the Book ||
In the cause of freedom, some will give their all.
When Matt Renicker joins the Army, he's determined to give his best for his country and his Lord, even if it means risking everything he loves most. But when tragedy strikes on a routine patrol, more than one heart is left shattered and lamenting.
In the wake of a terrible loss, will those left behind find the strength to go on? Or will the faith, family, and freedom Matt fought to preserve be broken beyond repair?
Goodreads || Amazon
About the Author ||
Abigail Kay Harris is a daughter of the King with a personal degree in book-nerdiness. A sister to seven, her passionate love of the written word and deeper meanings hidden in normal things leads her to spend her time reading, writing, using sarcasm, and defining obscure words. When she’s not chasing words, she enjoys watching shows, classic romance movies, tea, sunrises, and the outdoors, especially mountains, beaches, and forests.
Guest Post || The Story Behind Oh, the Fallen
Oh, The Fallen is my first finished story over 10,000 words that made it to a final draft. I had nearly given up on ever finishing another story after dealing with writers’ block for a long time.
Oh, The Fallen came from a fun little (and yes, sad) flash fiction I wrote last summer based on the song I Drive Your Truck, it was super short, between 200-500 words and I set it aside after sharing it with some friends.
Well, my family was on a road trip and on road trips I got lots of time to read and write, I had already read like five books and we weren’t even halfway to where we were going. I was chatting with a friend who I wouldn’t be able to chat with again for a long time and I got new ideas for a short story.
The main idea was similar to the short flash fiction I had written so I dug that up from whatever lost doc it had been in, I cleaned it up, broke up the story into parts for a longer story, found a song to listen to on loop (Fallen Soldier by Nathan Fair) and wrote the first draft.
I was thinking I may share it on my blog, write another draft, and by that time I was thinking it may be a little longer than a short story.
Then, at the end of the month, I had a nearly finished short story, ideas to finish it off the story, and talking with a friend about publishing it.
Well, another draft or two and I had more ideas, some characters were taking over the story in ways I didn’t expect, and I had the idea for three other books.
Fast forward a bit more to right before release, I have the first draft of the next book finished and like five more ideas for short stories, flash fiction, a novelette, and a few novellas.
And, that’s the story of Oh, The Fallen.
Except for the flash fiction that started it all, there are about 150 days between starting Oh, The Fallen and release day with the millions of ideas that came into play as I went along. I'm not sure where this will end but I’m trusting God on that one.
My Review ||
A more thorough review is in the works, using my system, but since this post is already long, I'll just cut to the chase. (I read a pre-edited copy of the book as a beta-reader. I received a copy of the book from the author for promotional purposes. All thoughts are my own.)
This book is amazing y'all. At the point in which I was reading it, it was in the process of being edited, so of course I caught a few things here and there and even offered a few suggestions, but honestly, the story blew me away! The author's voice is unique and homey and steeped in patriotic passion for God and Country. I cried through the entire thing and debuts rarely do that for me. Abigail Kay Harris has been added to my list of auto-buy authors!
There is some mild violence and romance, but nothing gory or PG-13. I would recommend a family read it together for Memorial Day. It's the perfect tribute <3
Grab the links above for more release day fun!
God Bless America and God Bless our Gold Star Families...
PS. What are your favorite Memorial Day reads? How do you honor those who have given their lives for us? Tell me in the comments below!
Hello everyone! I hope you are having a blessed Memorial Day. As we pause to remember those who have died to keep us free, please take a moment to pray for their families. They are still living the nightmare of waking up everyday without their loved one. Their brothers and sisters in arms wake up everyday without a text or call from their buddy. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
The parade came, and we had the truck all gussied up, with red, white, blue, and Army green. Hud drove with his BDUs on, and I sat on the back, waving at those who gathered to honor all our fallen soldiers. We got saluted by more people than I could count.
I got a hug from a Vietnam veteran. Another from a WWII Vet. A handshake from a Confederate reenactor. A salute from a Marine who looked suspiciously like Salem Springfield, but I couldn’t be sure.
We went to the football field for the ceremony, the laying of the wreaths and the gun salute and the singing of the National Anthem done by a member of every military branch, a Capella.
Then came the moment for the music. Becca stepped onto the platform, violin in hand, a mic before her to sing at intervals…while I played her backup…on Stanley’s violin. Becca had written the song, and we had practiced like crazy all Saturday evening and between church on Sunday.
And it was perfect. It was called, Do You Remember, Because I Can’t Forget. Soul-Stirring. And heart-wrenching. I cried all the way through it. But I cried even harder when she said, “Normally a dedication is given before a song is sung. But I’m going to do it now because it’s right. This song is dedicated to two Rangers, SPL Randy Bonner , and SPL Stanley Schnyder. Randy is on deployment right now, and Stanley gave it all taking Baghdad. They are both, one on earth and one in heaven, in the palm of our Savior’s Hand. No matter what, they are remembered. For us, as Christians, whether in deployment or in death, there is no Goodbye, only See You Later. And as both of our brothers have taught us, Goodbye isn’t in the Christian Family’s dictionary. If it’s in yours, please see me afterward, and I’ll gladly show you how you can become part of the Family and get rid of your goodbye. God Bless you for being here and God Bless America.”
I could never be that bold. I was almost afraid Becca would get in trouble for witnessing at a public event like that, but no one said a word to her about it, other than to ask her how to get rid of their goodbye. She led five people to Christ that day. I got three.
That evening, we stayed around and helped clean the stadium, the town volunteers insisting Military and Gold Stars shouldn’t have to, but we insisted on helping. After all, the fallen belong to us too.
As we were finishing, I picked up Stanley’s violin and started to leave, but suddenly, tears rushed to my eyes. I couldn’t see Becca and not wanting to cry in front of a dozen Soldiers, Marines, and strangers. So I ducked into the nearest private place…the bleachers.
By myself in the shadows, I allowed myself to miss Stanley, hugging his violin to my chest and sobbing, trying to shove away the memories of the day I got the news.
After a few moments, I heard Becca and Salem calling for me, and I wiped my face, my moment over, but it was time for it to be over. There was a time for mourning and a time for laughter. And Stanley would want me to choose the latter. Smiling, I called out to my friends, and we walked together to the vehicles.
That Friday started horribly. Becca came flying into the house, dictionary in her arms and tears pouring down her face. I grabbed her and shook her. “Becca! What’s wrong?”
“Something’s happening! I was on the phone with Randy, and then somebody yelled, and he said, ‘I love you!’ and the line cut! Something wrong, Chrissy!”
She burst into tears and clung to me, and we both ended up in the kitchen floor, bawling like toddlers and not caring, praying without ceasing that God would please shield Randy.
I stayed with her all day. We eventually went over to their base house and hunkered down, waiting for the call with eager trepidation. Salem drove up from Cherry Point, two hours away, to be with his family, and we all sat in the living room, waiting and praying.
Jason shattered the silence with a straightforward question. “If God…” he cleared his throat. “If God chooses to…take Randy away…will we still love Him?”
Silence hung in the room. Becca shuddered and rested her head against my shoulder, tears seeping into my shirt. Salem ran his hands through his non-existent hair, and Mrs. Springfield closed her eyes. Mr. Springfield paused in his pacing.
I glared at the DVD case propped on the bookshelf.
All heads turned towards Becca. “Because it’s not the end. God promised we will be together again. I won’t understand why. But I’ll still love Him.”
Salem nodded, his eyes red-rimmed, but as of yet, he was a genuine, stone-faced Marine. Mrs. Springfield sighed. “Yes, I’ll still love Him.”
“As hard as that would be…yes,” Mr. Springfield said.
The phone rang, but no one moved to answer it, staring at it in horror.
So I answered it.
“…Oh! Uh, hello, Miss Christina. Good to hear from you. Is Becca there?”
I squealed and nearly dropped the phone, and I know I’d left his ears ringing. “Becca! Take it! It’s him!”
Becca jumped to her feet, snatching the cordless from me. And with a voice as controlled as if she hadn’t been crying all day, she said, “Randy, don’t you ever scare me like that again! What’s the big idea?!”
I laughed so hard and hugged Mrs. Springfield and Mr. Springfield so hard. We thanked God and cried while Salem called their other son, Timothy, at the Air Force Academy and let him know Randy was all right. It was a beautiful evening.
And we ended it with that movie.
Before I left, Becca grabbed my hand and said, “Thank God, I didn’t have to say that final See You Later. Not yet.”
I hugged her tight as she cried with relief. “Not yet. It’s not time yet. But aren’t you so glad Goodbye isn’t in the dictionary?”
She nodded and wiped her eyes. “I’m gonna read that page all night…and all the letters. I’m just so grateful.”
“Me too, Becca.” I winked. “See You Later!”
Salem insisted I come with them to pick Randy up since I had been with them for the whole deployment. I agreed, then realized that he had motives, and I might have elbowed him in the ribs.
Randy ran up to his family, hugging his mom so tight he picked her up. She kissed his cheek; her baby was safe and sound. Becca wedged her way past her brothers to get to him next, and that’s when I saw a couple tears shining in his eyes.
He greeted his brothers, and then he looked at me. He thanked me for being there for Becca. Before I could speak, another Ranger walked up and slapped him on the shoulder. “Later, Boots.”
He grinned, “Later, Pickles.”
I stared at him. Tears rushed to my eyes. “Boots,” I whispered. Randy turned and looked at me. I’d have to show him that letter. He needed to see it.
Two Years Later…
Uncle Abel came to my wedding. And he was smiling. Becca was my maid of honor, and Mr. Springfield was Randy’s best man. Salem said he should have been the best man since he fell in love with me as a sister before Randy said anything. But Randy insisted he had fallen for me at first sight.
All I care about is that my soldier made it home. He’s deploying in about three months, but we’re okay. We have each other for now. And we will never say goodbye. Because they are not in the dictionary…neither are good cheer or Good Conduct Medal because Randy covered them up to get his See You Later Note in there…
“HEY, LIEBLING, YOU TOLD ME, IT’S NOT HERE. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING? WE ONLY HAVE ‘SEE YOU LATERS.’ BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WILL SEE YOU LATER, HERE OR THERE. ALL MY LOVE, MY DARLING. RANGERS LEAD THE WAY…AND SO DO LITTLE SISTERS…”
 Note to readers. This is a short story that is part of a WIP. Randy, Becca and a brother named Tim are adopted by the Springfields, but allowed to keep their birth name. That’s why she says Bonner and not Springfield.
So what did you think? Do you like the idea of no Goodbye's for Christians? Did this end the way you thought it would? Who was your favorite Character? Let me know in the comments below!
God Bless America and Never Forget the Fallen and their families.
Hello! Long time no see! I'm sorry about the delay in posts, but this past month has been crazy busy with church and school finals! (My husband is a teacher and I helped with the pre-edits on student papers!) My health is finally improving (vitamin deficiencies can through you for a loop!), so hopefully, I'm back on track now!
I'm excited to bring you episode two of GID! (If you are new, read part one here!) Today, we're picking up where we left off, so let's jump back in!
The following morning the bell rang, and Becca entered, her wallet tucked under her arm, and a book clutched in her hands. She made a bee-line for the counter.
“Hey…can we talk?”
I nodded, knowing this was gonna be hard. “I have an hour left. But if it can’t wait—”
“It can. Cause I don’t want to rush.”
“Okay, here, take this to the corner booth and wait for me,” I said, sliding a lemonade across the counter. She took it and retreated, opening the book and settling in.
At last, the hour was up, and I came to her booth. “I know a better place for us to talk, come on.”
Moments later, we were sitting at the pier out back. “This is where he brought me last night…”
I winced. “Okay, so I blew that one…”
“No, this is fine.” Becca took a deep breath. “Randy told me you were the one who told him how to tell me.”
“It’s…what my brother did for me…before he left.”
She held the dictionary out towards me. “I don’t know what your brother did, but I wanted you to see what mine did.”
I smiled, touched that she wanted to share something so special with a stranger. I flipped to the page where “Goodbye” should have been. And I pressed my hand to my mouth to keep from audibly crying.
In neat capital letters—such an Army thing—he had written and glued over the entry:
“I TOLD YOU, IT’S NOT HERE. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING? WE ONLY HAVE ‘SEE YOU LATERS.’ BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WILL SEE YOU LATER, HERE OR THERE. ALL MY LOVE, SIS. RANGERS LEAD THE WAY.”
“This,” I said, “is true big brother love.”
“He never would have thought to do it if not for you. I…thank you for giving him the idea. I will cherish this for the rest of my life.”
I hugged her, and she cried on my shoulder. I’m not a heavy make-up kind of girl, but what little mascara I had on was running all over the place.
When we pulled back, I gripped her shoulders. “When can you come back? I’ll show you what my brother did for me.”
“You don’t have to share it. I know it must be special to you.”
“I…want to. Really. Please?”
“I’ll be here Friday.”
“Meet me here at 3:00, okay?”
“I’ll be here.”
She met me there on the pier on Friday, and I handed her a to-go cup of lemonade. I pulled out the book that I had kept beside my Bible ever since I had gotten it. I gave it to her and waited.
She turned to that page. Like her brother, mine had covered the entry.
“GOODBYES AREN'T FOR US. WE DON’T NEED THEM. BECAUSE NOTHING WILL EVER TAKE AWAY OUR HOME IN ETERNITY. CHRISSY, GOODBYE ISNT IN THE DICTIONARY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY. ALL MY LOVE UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, SEE YOU LATER.”
Big brother love.
Randy deployed the three weeks later. I was there with his family at Becca’s request. I gave them space, letting them say their ‘see you laters.’ He shook my hand before he headed for the plane. “See you later, Miss Christina.”
“See you later, Ranger.”
Becca came to see me every week. We’d drink Lemonade and talk about our brothers, and I was able to heal a little on the inside, sharing about how amazing Stanley was. And I learned what happened to her other brother, the one they almost lost. He had been a prisoner of war at the beginning of the war in Iraq. Celebrated his eighteenth birthday sick from an infected Camel bite. And Randy had been able to bring him home.
She brought letters that Randy had written home, sharing portions and allowing me to lose myself in the Army life I missed so much, all the acronyms and little jokes that are only funny to Army people. I brought some of Stanley’s letters, and we both laughed too hard at the pranks he played with his two buddies, Boots and Pickles. He never did tell me their real names, and I never got to meet them. They came to the funeral, but we were all too much of a wreck to talk. I can’t even remember what they looked like.
We cried over the honesty of our brothers. Both shared that at times, they were scared and didn’t really want to admit it to any of the guys. But then they apologized for telling us. Neither of us had minded.
Stanley wrote home, a few weeks before he died, “I’ve always respected Boots, but today, he made me respect him more. Risked his life to bring back Jerkface, the guy I told you about that pesters the snot out of everyone, especially Boots. Jerkface got hurt up really bad, and Boots nearly got himself killed going after him. J got EVACed, and Boots is going tomorrow. I’m sitting with him, watching him sleep, and…he just looks like a kid… I can easily see him as the kind that would call for his mom, then feel bad for wishing her there to see him like this. But I wish she was here. He’s too protective of us to realize it, but he needs somebody looking after him too. Big puppy if you ask me. Hey, if you ever decide soldiers aren’t that bad…😉 seriously, though, he’s a great guy.”
I rolled my eyes. “He was always trying to find me a husband. He so wanted me to marry one of his guys.”
Becca smiled and squeezed my hand. “Obviously, that’s up to God, but Boots doesn’t sound like a bad guy…I mean, he’s the one who asked if the others would like to do Bible study together, right?”
“Yes, that’s him. Who knows. I hope God does give him a good one. He sounds like he needs a protective wife.”
“Well, God will get her for him.”
We finished our lemonade and chatted a little longer, then I hurried back to work. I was trying to concentrate, but all I could think about was Memorial Day coming up. Me and my younger brother Hudson were supposed to go to the parade this year and drive Stanley’s truck…that was gonna be hard.
Uncle Abel smiled as I refilled the lemonade tank. “We’ll be closing up a little early this evening. So, we’ll see you bright and early Monday?”
I turned to him in surprise. Why it shocked me that he would have the café open on a holiday, I don’t know…but to expect me to be there? To miss Stanley’s parade? “I…I can’t come.”
He frowned. “We have inventory. Everyone will have to be here for us to finish on time.”
“Then let me do my part this evening. Please, I have to have Monday off!”
Uncle Abel frowned. “Is this about that parade?”
I swallowed back a look of defiance. “Yes. I’m going for Stanley.”
I could have kept it together. I could have breathed through it.
But he rolled his eyes and frowned.
Hello everyone! So today, I’m back with more of my ramblings and a much-requested blog post… How I met my Husband! So this rambling will fall under the Life category! Without further ado, let’s hop in!
I always prayed that my relationship would move quickly... I didn't exactly mean 12 hours from Hello to Can I Write You...
So it all started a year ago today! On March 10th, 2020, my dad took two of my sisters and me with him to the Capitol Connection in Washington, D.C. One of my sisters wasn’t feeling well (not the virus that shall not be named *halo*), my other sister decided to stay with her at the hotel, so I was the chosen one who went with Dad that day. We walked toward the Capitol Building for our group photo on the steps when a tall, blondish/reddish-haired man with a beard walked up and struck up a conversation with us. I was a little gun shy… he was obviously from up north, though he didn’t come off like a yankee, and his accent wasn’t irritating to me. And for being from Maryland, he sure knew his conservative politics!
He talked with my dad and me and offered to meet up with us at the Supreme Court to get pictures later if his group didn’t go straight to lunch. Which they did. I figured I would never see him again.
And I was surprised that this bothered me. I realized I found him interesting and attractive, and I immediately prayed and asked God to help me NOT think about him. I wasn’t there to meet guys. I was there to be a witness and encouragement! I didn’t need a distraction. So could You please help me not think about him? Thank You!
Only… He didn’t.
Seemed like every time I turned around, I thought about our talk and wished he would just show up. I prayed hard for God to take it away from me. But He just wouldn’t! And who just happened to be there when we were waiting for our bus to pick us up?
During the rest of that day, he just kept popping up! He even went on the midnight tour with us that evening. And I figured he wanted to talk to my dad about our ministry! I didn’t know he was interested in me until he asked my dad if he could contact me to “see where God might lead this”!
Long story short, my parents and I prayed about it, and about a week later, I got my first email! Dad and Mom read it first, then my mom got me off to the side and handed me dad’s phone. I was elated!
Then the virus that shall not be named struck and quarantine happened.
My mom still hadn’t met Jacob, and I hadn’t met his parents. I knew there was no way our relationship could move forward until we had. But God had plans!
In May, I was allowed to receive one chaperoned phone call a week. And in June, God worked it all out for our families to meet! We spent the first day at their house, and the next, we went to Gettysburg for the first time since 2011! We crawled all over Devil’s Den, and Jacob and I got plenty of time to talk and get to know each other better. The next day, Sunday, June 28th, we were given our parents’ blessing to officially begin courting.
He came down in July to visit, and we came up in August, where I got to meet his extended family! Then in September, he came down for Labor Day weekend.
Mom suggested we finally get some pictures since we forgot the last time we saw each other. I put on a little makeup and curled my hair.
He left to freshen up, and I went out with my sisters to pick a good spot in our wooded area. Jacob came out and surprised me with a dozen roses. Then he told me he would only give roses to someone he really liked… someone he loved.
Now in our family, you can’t say I Love You until you are getting engaged.
I busted out crying, then finally told him yes, I would marry him!
The next few months were a blur as we wrestled with the perfect date, location, and attendants. We were married on December 19th, just nine months and 9 days after we met!
Is that how things typically go in our family? Do I recommend people just getting married willy-nilly?
But this wasn’t anyone else’s story. This was our story. This was God’s plan for us. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world! God makes no mistakes!
A few more fun facts, though…
About two weeks before I met Jacob, I prayed and at last gave up the struggle over being single at 23. It was hard. I referred to it as my Jacob wrestling with the Angel moment. I had no idea I would marry a Jacob 😉. One week before I met Jacob, a close family friend encouraged me to pray that I would meet my future spouse this year. Not get in a relationship per se, just meet them. It was a week to the day before God had our paths cross! Then I found out on my wedding day that my sister had explicitly prayed that I would meet my Husband at Capital Connection. God is so good!
I’ve been thinking about the Founding Fathers a lot of late. What a statesman John Adams was; How much I despise Alexander Hamilton (is he even a Founding Father??); Wishing George Washington had stood up to the Muslim Corsairs; How grateful I am that Thomas Jefferson did stand up to them; How inspiring Patrick Henry’s speeches were. And it got me to thinking… what other stories don’t we know about the Founding Fathers just because they aren’t as famous as Benjamin Franklin? I have no idea who Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, and John Penn are, and they signed for North Carolina! Have you ever heard of John Jay? How about William Floyd? May I encourage you, reader, in this day and age who wants to erase even the famous from history, that you take a little time to read about the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? To research the ones who ratified the Constitution? To read up on the men who lead our people on the field of battle? Who stirred up the people to see what was happening right in front of them? Who are the Sons of Liberty? Was the Boston Massacre really a Massacre? Where they all honorable men? Well, no. Did they make mistakes? Yep, they were human, just like us. But how will you even know who these people are if you don’t take the time to care? How can we lose our history if, in our ignorance, we never had it?
Pick up a book on the Founding Fathers today.
So y’all know I love to read! Today, I want to share about a book I finished last month! A full review is coming, but people! The Color Red by Katja L. was. So. Good. If you ever get the opportunity to read it, you really need to! The style is charming and full of words to expand your vocabulary, and it’s written in such a way that it just sucks you right into the main character’s head! Like I said, a full review is coming, but please, add this book to your Goodreads TBR!
Well, I need to wrap this up! I hope you are all having a lovely day in the Lord!
What’s going on in your life? Share about your favorite Founding Father! Read any good books of late? Comment below and fill us in!
God bless you, and God bless America!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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