It’s time for another Christmas post! Well, not exactly a Christmas post…its time for me to post another history post. And in keeping with my series, I found a battle close to Christmas. And it really makes me think of Christmas time. Plus, I have a few excerpts from my book, Our Heritage to Save! One from Fredericksburg and one from a Christmas scene! So keep reading to find those!
Smack Dab in the Middle of Things. Fredericksburg was located right in the middle of Washington D.C. and Richmond, the capital cities of the warring countries. This alone made it an iconic town that both parties would want control of. The Battle of Fredericksburg would determine who would have it.
We Will All Cross Together. General Winfield Scott Hancock saw the chance of a battle before it happened. He wanted to take part of the army across to secure the town before Lee and Jackson arrived. Gen. A. Burnside, the General of the Army of the Potomac, disagreed and insisted that they all cross over together. His insistence proved fatal for the Union Army.
A Chicken Couldn’t Live on That Field. Alexander Porter, Lee’s artillery expert, told this to Lee prior to the battle. He had his cannons set up just right, there was a stonewall for the Southern troops to fight behind and the Federals would have to cross open ground to get to the wall. No sir, a chicken couldn’t live on that field once the shots were fired.
Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! This was the cry of the Union soldiers as they taunted the Confederates retreating from Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. But why did they remind their counterparts of a battle the federals had so miserably lost? Well, perhaps they were trying to tell the Confederates that they should have learned from the federals’ mistake at Fredericksburg. They charged at the Confederates across an open field not once, not twice, but thirteen times. Thankfully, the South did learn something from their mistakes…they only charged the federals once.
It is Well. It was following this battle that General Lee said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” It’s easy to see his meaning. Campaign strategy can be fun, planning the battle movements and counterattacks. The horror of it comes when you remember, this isn’t a game. This is an event that will leave men dead.
Faugh A Ballagh!* At this battle, one of the famous clashes happened when the Southern Irish of Georgia clashed with the Northern Irish Brigade of New York met at the stonewall outside of Fredericksburg. The two knew they were more than likely firing on their family as the shots were exchanged. The conflict ended in a federal retreat. Instead of continuing to fire at the retreating enemy, the Southern Irish cheered their comrades, hardly a dry eye among them. *An Irish War Cry “Clear the Way!”
Counting the Casualties. The Federal forces suffered a staggering 12,653 casualties, broken down into 1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 captured or missing. The Confederacy suffered 5,377 losses: 608 killed, 4,116 wounded, 653 captured or missing. Sadly, before the war was over, these numbers would seem like nothing.
Answering the Cry. Sgt. Richard Kirkland, Confederate Army, couldn’t bear to listen to the cries of the dying federal and Confederate soldiers on the field, so after pestering his officers, he was allowed to carry water to them, to ease there suffering. He has been dubbed the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” and is much loved by both the North and the South.
The Color of the Coat Doesn’t Matter. Clara Barton had set up a hospital in the nearby Lacy House. When she heard someone say a Confederate soldier should be taken out of the house, she refused to listen to another word of it. A patient was a patient, no matter his coat color.
Looted and Burned. Most of the Homes in Fredericksburg were spoiled by the federal troops during their short stay in town. Many homes were damaged by cannon shot and fire, while others were looted for anything of value by drunken bluecoats. Appalled, some federal officers tried to rein in their men, but it took some doing to restore order. This is what the townspeople and Confederate Army had to return to; rebuilding and restoration.
And now for some snippets!
From Our Heritage to Save-- Chapter 30: War is So Terrible
Stonewall Jackson and the Confederate right flank were viciously attacked by the Union troops. Stonewall’s men waited until the Federals were almost on top of them to start firing.
Richard, commanding his unit, fired along with the others. He watched as the guns were fired and tried to push away the reality that men and boys, wearing blue and gray, were dying all around him. Souls forever gone to eternity.
He glanced to his right and saw David Bowers acting as a field doctor, patching the men up and sending them back into the fight. Titus Mallory stood nearby, loading his gun once more and preparing to fire. How odd it was that Titus, who had taught Richard so much, was now a sergeant under Richard’s command!
The men in blue soon fell back to regroup. When they did, they pressed hard to break the line. A hail of bullets showered the area. When Richard realized that the Yanks had managed to divide two Confederate brigades in half, he raised his gun and began fighting harder than he had realized was possible. “Come on, Boys! Remember your families,” he shouted. Then their camp verses came to mind. “32:7-8!” he shouted.
The cry was taken up by the others. “32:7-8!”
“More with us than with them!”
“…With us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles!”
“Be strong and courageous!” The Confederates soon filled the gap again and drove the soldiers back.
Richard looked up and saw a soldier trying to drag David off the field. A mini battle erupted as members of the 32:7 Company rushed to defend their doctor friend. It wasn’t easy going, for the Federal had friends as well. But they managed to escape without major injuries, just a few cuts and bruises.
Richard’s adrenaline was up. Those invaders had tried to take one of his men; they had already taken *removed, because Spoilers XD* and he was determined they weren’t going to take anyone else. Woe unto those who dared mess with the 32:7 Company!
From Chapter 32: Christmas Surprises
Philip, Drew and Charles stood in the hall, waiting to surprise their families. “Philip, you go into the parlor first, and see how long it takes for them to notice you’re there,” Drew whispered. Philip grinned and stepped into the room, leaning against the door frame.
It didn’t take long. Michael, looking rather glum, was listlessly glancing around the room. He gave a start when he saw Philip. Then realizing who it was, he jumped to his feet. Those nearest him saw the action and turned to see what he was looking at.
Jennifer gave a cry of delight and hurried forward to hug her big brother. He hugged her tight, lifting her off her feet. She soon had to make way for her sister-in-law though. The whole family was eager to greet their loved one and Philip loved the attention.
“Boy, why didn’t you tell us you were coming home for Christmas?” Robert Rains asked his son. “We had no idea!”
Philip relished hearing his father’s voice again. “Wasn’t time to tell you! I only found out a few days ago! I came as soon as I could.”
“Oh, Charles!” his mother called out at that moment as the next soldier entered the room. She soon had her oldest son in her embrace. “My boy, oh!” More hugs, kisses and greetings ensued.
“What happened to your hand?” Nana asked in alarm.
Charlie grinned, “Just a sprain, Nana, and nearly healed.”
Dixie watched the reunions with a pain in her heart. She wanted to see Richard and Seth so bad. And they still hadn’t heard the outcome of Fredericksburg. Were they sitting behind bars at this very minute while everyone was making over Philip and Charles like they were heroes?
Tears welled in her eyes. She briskly, but inconspicuously made her way to the hall. She didn’t want to ruin the occasion with her self-pity and anxiety.
Once in the hall, with the door shut, Dixie allowed the tears to flow. Her shoulders shook, and her breath came in quiet, sobbing gasps.
She jumped as a hand touched her shoulder. She swiped at her eyes and turned around. Drew. She gave way to her tears once more. He stooped down and pulled his cousin into a gentle embrace, allowing her to cry on his shoulder.
He patted her and said, “It’s alright, Dixie. You’ll see them again soon. This war will end before long. Maybe you’ll feel better when I tell you that we lost Fredericksburg. Richard and Seth are probably in the town right now, helping clean up the mess.”
She nodded. It did help. Her brothers probably were safe. That thought helped a lot. She pulled back after a moment and wiped at her eyes again. Drew handed her a kerchief. “I left mine in the parlor,” Dixie said as she dried her eyes.
Drew smiled. “That’s alright. I would be honored if you’d help me make my grand entrance,” he said, offering his arm.
Dixie tried to muster a smile and said, “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not. I’d feel like...like a traitor to Richard and Seth.”
Drew nodded. “I understand.” He opened the door and then stepped into the realm of excitement. Drew was swamped by his six younger siblings. He nearly disappeared from sight as they all tried to hug him at once, regardless of age.
Dixie slipped back in, at last able to watch the reunions without tears threatening her. But even though Drew’s words had comforted her, she wondered if anyone else were remembering her brothers were in this war too. Were they missed by the cousins?
Constance Angelica gave Dixie a vindictive look. She certainly wasn’t missing Richard and Seth. Jennifer slipped up next to Dixie. “It would be perfect if the boys were here. That and getting the news that the war was over. A perfect Christmas gift!”
Dixie smiled. “Yes. A perfect Christmas gift indeed!”
That's it for now!
10 Totally Random Facts About…Second Manassas! // A History Post +An Excerpt from Our Heritage to Save!
At last, I have returned to this beloved series after…4 months! Wow…that’s a long time…
Anyway, today I am doing a post on the Battle of Manassas Junction, Virginia! But Ryana Lynn, you might say, You’ve already done a post on Manassas Junction! And you would be quite right! Here’s a link to my first post! But today, we are looking at the SECOND battle that took place in that unfortunate area. Unfortunate because who really wants to have ONE battle fought in their backyard, let alone TWO? And hang around at the end of the post for a tiny excerpt from my book, Our Heritage to Save, to learn an additional fact about the Battle!
1. Lightning Strikes Twice. Yep, people often say it doesn’t but it has happened…anyway… Second Manassas (Or Second Bull Run, if you’re from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon 😉) was fought on the same ground as the first major battle of the War Between the States, almost a year later! And it lasted a little longer too, beginning on August 28th and ending on the 30th.
2. Stonewall was Here! But unlike the first battle, where his was one of the last on the field, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s was the first command to arrive at Second Manassas…3 days early!
3. Same song, second verse. After the second battle I suppose the federal army decided it would be a bad idea to fight here again; they lost both battles fought at Manassas Junction to the Confederate Army.
4. Immortalized in Song. There is a hilarious song, written and sung by southerners, that goes through the laundry list of men who Lincoln put in charge of his Grand Army of the Potomac. (There were so many, it’s not even funny!) The commander for the Manassas Campaign was Gen. John Pope. The song is written as if it’s union soldiers singing it, making it even funnier to the Southern population. Pope and the Battle of Manassas were featured in the lyrics like this:
Then said Lincoln unto Pope, “You can make the trip I hope,
I will save the Universal Yankee Nation,
To make sure of no defeat, I’ll leave no lines of retreat,
And I’ll issue a famous proclamation.”
But the same dreaded Jackson, This fellow laid his whacks,
And made him by compulsion a seceder.
And Pope took rapid flight from Manassas’ Second fight,
‘Twas his very last appearance as a leader.
But to be fair, the southern author was kind to Pope in the chorus…
Then pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves,
For Stonewall is a hard road to travel;
Pope did his very best but was evidently sold,
For Richmond is a hard road to travel, I am told!
5. A New Commander. The federals weren’t the only ones with a different commanding general when Second Manassas rolled around. Instead of Joseph Johnston commanding Southern forces, General Lee was in charge. But the results were the same: Southern Victory!
6. Old Stomping Grounds. Stonewall’s first mission upon arriving at Manassas Junction was to destroy the Union supply depot there. After fulfilling this duty, Stonewall set about making camp…near to the very place where he had first earned the nickname Stonewall (though he always insisted the name belonged to the brigade who had fought with him that day).
7. Don’t Count your Eggs Until They Are Laid. During the fight, U.S. General Pope informed Lincoln that the victory was the Union. NEVER announce victory before you actually have it…you’ll have to eat your words…
8. Strike while the Iron is Hot! Stonewall believed in action. He was not one to sit around and wait for the enemy to attack him. Second Manassas showed that very well. Pope knew he was in the area, due to a previous fight with another command. But his men got within a few hundred yards of Stonewall and didn’t even see him until Jackson’s artillery opened fire on them.
9. It’s not the Size that counts. Jackson and his troops were outnumbered two to one during the battle. In fact, multiple times, the federals broke their lines. But in spite of being outmanned, Jackson’s men always counterattacked and plugged the holes. And it paid off; Longstreet reinforced them, giving them desperately needed man power to ultimately carry the battle.
10. According to the Numbers… There are a lot of similarities between the two Battles of Manassas Junction. But the numbers are not part of that. Around 63,000 federal and 55,000 Confederates were engaged in the second battle, almost but not quite double their forces from the first battle. At First Manassas, 2,896 federals were listed as casualties (mostly injured); at Second Manassas, their numbers were 13,826. The Confederates listed 1,982 casualties (again mostly injured) at the first battle. Those numbers jumped to 8,353 at the second battle. (Numbers taken from A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham, ©2011 by the author, All Rights Reserved)
And now…for the excerpt…which happens to spotlight one of my favorite facts about this battle!
From Chapter 22: He Fixed It, Our Heritage to Save
“Believe it, Joe. We’re out of ammo!” The young Southern soldier’s face was white with anxiety. “We just used our last two rounds. What are we gonna do?”
“Rocks!” someone yelled. “Use the rocks!” The boys looked down at the rocks on the ground.
“Can’t hurt trying,” Joe shouted, picking up a sizable one. He hurled the rock as hard as he could. The others standing around followed suit.
Meanwhile, a Union soldier was firing away as fast as he could. Suddenly, a hard object struck his rifle barrel. “What was that?” Another “thing” came flying, this time striking him in the shoulder. “Stones? Ahh!” A hail of the rock ‘bullets’ came raining down on him.
“Now I have seen everything!” his friend commented, picking a pebble from his hand. “Here we are, fighting our own countrymen in the middle of nowhere, and being battered by rocks!”
“Yeah, and they say Longstreet and Lee reinforced Jackson last night. This is insanity!”
Not as long as most of my excerpts, but if I put anymore…well, you know, spoilers…
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have a Blessed Day!
I love books. I love good Christian books. And while historical fiction is my favorite, I do love a nice medieval setting sometimes. So, when I found out that Amanda Tero was writing a series of Novellas in this genre…and that there was NO magic in them…and that the last one was going to be a retelling of ROBIN HOOD…yep, I was hooked.
Protecting the Poor
(Published August 2019)
About the book:
Sheriff Feroci is now lord over the province, and Abtshire has become a pit of injustice. Being forced into the lord’s service does not give Dumphey as many opportunities to help the poor as he desires. When attempts on his life drive him into the forest, this freedom opens a world of possibilities for helping others. But how can he do so when he is running for his life? And does God want him to do more than simply feed the poor?
Noel has always hidden behind the shadow of his older brother, Dumphey. When life forces him to stand on his own, will he still follow God in the corrupt world in which he lives? Would God really call him to do something that is beyond his power to do?
As Lord Feroci's sinister plot comes to light, each lad has a choice to make. A choice that could cost them their lives.
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About the Author:
Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continues to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Connect with Amanda
Now there are some who call Robin Hood a socialist and a thief and I’m not going to get into explaining why neither is true (that is neither here nor there). The same accusation can certainly not be made of Dumphey and his Merry Men! This book…*sighs* It was so beautiful. I loved it so much and would recommend it to anyone, especially boys, since it’s kinda about boys, but girls will enjoy it too. And there is no romance!
I loved the archery aspect of the book and the outdoorsy setting of most of the story. And Lord Feroci… that man is evil. He is the perfect mix of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Some of my favorite parts in the story were the Biblical lessons taught through the story. As terrible as this may sound, I feel that some spiritual themes and scenes in stories come across forced and cold. Not the case here! Noel’s child-like innocence, faith and yes, fear, are easy to relate to and understand. Zuzene’s wisdom and trust in God is unshakable and makes you wish you could seek her counsel. Dumphey’s struggles with doing right in all things, dealing with guilt and attempting to witness without driving the listener away are relatable and natural, something I greatly appreciated.
*I was given a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to post a positive review. *
Miss Amanda Tero was gracious enough to give me an interview to share with y’all, so without further ado, let’s dive in!
Ryana: What inspired you to write a retelling about Robin Hood?
Amanda: Robin Hood has always, always been a favorite story of mine—I mean, I wasn’t really even a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella… so when it came to choosing a third tale to tell, I chose something I adored. Plus, I had to find a character to spin off from in “The Secret Slipper.” Sheriff Feroci and Abtshire had the perfect workings of being the new Sheriff of Nottingham!
Ryana: What was your favorite part of writing Protecting the Poor?
Amanda: Ooh… you know, what comes to mind is the grueling labor this book was. I mean, for real! Compared to anything else I’ve published, this has been by far the hardest. But! I really did like writing the action scenes. Like, a lot.
Ryana: What do you want people to learn from Protecting the Poor?
Amanda: There is a dual-message in “Protecting the Poor.” From Noel, readers can learn from his example with how to cling to God with a pure heart—but also, how to overcome fears and follow God when you don’t think you can. From Dumphey, I hope readers learn boldness, not in action, but in sharing God’s gift of salvation.
Ryana: Who was your favorite character to develop?
Amanda: Patey! I wanted to have a mischievous, sly fellow who was flirting with danger yet could be influenced to do what’s right. He was by far one of the most fun characters to work with.
Ryana: What's next on your desk?
Amanda: With “Protecting the Poor” released, I’m working on the release of my newest novella, “Wedding Score.” It’s a first-person, light-hearted work that focuses on single girls and contentment. Something close to my heart for sure!
Ryana: What is something you learned from writing PP?
Amanda: Be submissive to the season of life in which God has you. Sure, there were lessons I learned as I was studying what messages to put in “Protecting the Poor,” but the biggest lesson I learned was that God’s timing is perfect. It took a year and a half longer to get PP out than I hoped or planned, but God’s timing is perfect. He didn’t have to allow me to finish it at all, and He did!
Ryana: Advice for those wanting to write a retelling?
Amanda: Writing retellings are super fun! My top tips would be…
- Figure out the “flavors” of the original tale to keep in your retelling (for instance, in “Protecting the Poor” I made sure to keep archery, unjust authority, a band of men, and hunting “forbidden meats” even though I practically debunked the theme of “steal from the rich to feed the poor”)
- Make sure it’s a retelling, not a rewrite (don’t have verbatim conversations or even scenes and plotlines).
- Give a unique twist (what will make this stand out from the original tale and make it wholly yours?).
- But… make the retelling recognizable (goes with the “flavor”—you don’t want someone to read it and have no clue that it was supposed to be a retelling)
Thanks so much for having me on your blog and being a part of “Protecting the Poor’s” release!
And now for the fun part…the giveaway! And guess what?!? Two winner will receive not just Protecting the Poor, but the entire Tales of Faith Series! One U.S. Winner will receive paperback copies, and one international winner will receive ebooks! Enter here!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you want to get a signed copy of "Protecting the Poor?" Order here!
About the Series
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Wedding Score is open for reviewers, bloggers, and influencers. Sign up here.
Shout-out to all the wonderful bloggers who are participating in the release of "Protecting the Poor."
Monday - August 26, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Protecting the Poor Release Post
Life of Heritage Corner - Interview, Review, Giveaway
Great Books for God's Girls - Interview, Review
Peculiar Miss Darcy - Interview
Honey Rock Hills - Review
Debbie's Dusty Deliberations - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post
Tuesday - August 27, 2019
We've Got Pockets - Review
Maidens for Modesty - Giveaway, Guest Post
A Brighter Destiny - Spotlight
Wednesday - August 28, 2019
Soldier Girl Stories - Interview
Purposeful Learning - Spotlight, Guest Post
Thursday - August 29, 2019
Rachel Rossano's Works - Spotlight, Guest Post
In My Bookcase - Review, Giveaway
Friday - August 30, 2019
Losing the Busyness - Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Resting Life - Guest Post
Saturday - August 31, 2019
Blossoms and Blessings - Spotlight, Review, Guest Post
Verbosity Reviews – Spotlight, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae - Review
Reading on the Edge - Spotlight
Monday - September 2, 2019
With a Joyful Noise - Giveaway Winner Announced
Have a Blessed Week!
Hello friends! Welcome back to another 10 Totally Random Facts post! In Honor of My dear Stonewall Jackson’s final victory, this month we are looking at 10 Totally Random Facts about the Battle of Chancellorsville. *sobs* Let’s see if I can get through this…
And now…an excerpt from “The Rivers of Sorrow”!!!
From Chapter 8: A Place Called Chancellorsville
“No talking whatsoever, don’t load your rifles and if you straggle, you’re getting a bayonet prod! Got it?”
“Yes, sir.” Richard was convinced his soldiers weren’t going to give him any problems. Seth glanced over his squad and was pleased to see them moving briskly, preparing to march.
The gray mist of dawn hung in the air. Seth shivered, partly from the cool morning, partly from anticipation of battle. Maybe they would whip the Yankees for good this time!
Richard trotted past his brother. “32:7-8!” he called to Seth. Seth saluted and grinned at his older brother. The camp verse flashed through his mind. ‘Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles…’
The 2nd Corps was soon on the march. Jackson’s men filed by in silence. No one was talking; all that could be heard was a muffled tramp, tramp, tramp of soldiers’ feet and the gentle clank of their gear.
Jackson allowed a smile to take to the corners of his lips. These were soldiers; real men. Veterans. Fearless. Hard-core men of war. They would take on anybody. They would follow only those whom they trusted and believed in. They were an Army. They were the best army the world had ever seen. They were men fighting for a cause with all their heart.
Lord, please give Thy divine guidance in this attack. It is only by Thy ever kind Providence that we can even hope to be successful...
Later that evening, the long column halted. They were tired, having just made a 12-mile trek, with only one water stop and no food stops. Part of the column had skirmished with Hooker’s men. Now the Yankees thought the Southerners were withdrawing from the area.
At 5:15 p.m., the attack began. There was only two hours of day light left, when C.S. Brig. Gen. Rodes was ordered to deploy his brigade. Raleigh Colston, Brigadier General, was right behind him.
Richard fell in step with Gen. Jackson and his aides. Champion tensed underneath Richard. He wanted to run; he always wanted to run. Richard patted him on the shoulder. It wouldn’t be long and he would be doing just that.
Excitement mounted inside Richard. Yes, they at last would push Hooker all the way across the river and personally escort them to Washington!
Meanwhile in the Yankee camp, the inexperienced German soldiers of the 11th Corps were talking and laughing while preparing their supper. They listened to music being played in a nearby pine grove.
A young drummer returned to the circle, carrying a bucket of water for a stew that was being made. The soldiers patted him on the back, thanking him for running the errand and promising him the first bowl of stew.
The boy turned to jot a letter to his mother while waiting on his food. He frowned; the ground under him vibrated. He gasped as a deer plowed through the camp, nearly tramping over him in the process.
“Hey, someone shoot some more meat for supper!”
“I’ve never seen so many rabbits or foxes in my life!”
“What I wouldn’t give for that deer there!”
The men laughed at the spectacle, casually wondering what had caused the animals to flee right through their camp.
The soldiers jumped and glanced at the knoll beyond them. There, cresting the hill above them was a line a mile long of Confederate soldiers!
“Get your guns!”
Orders were screamed to each other in a crazy mix of English and German. Everyone ran. Behind them, Confederates advanced.
Richard trotted along next to his commander’s column, waiting for orders and watching for any possible threat on Gen. Jackson’s life. Wounded soldiers still posed a threat and he constantly scanned the camp for such perils.
The Yankees gave up ground rapidly. Oh, they stopped and tried to hold the Confederates back, but their efforts were futile.
 He will finish as a Major General.
 Confederate Brigadier General, known for his hand in the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Until Next Time,
MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! As you celebrate with family and friends on this holy day, don’t forget to take time and thank God for sending the Most Precious Gift known to mankind! (Click here for more Christmas Fun!) And now, for the conclusion of Stille Nacht!
Part Eight : Stille Nacht
The next morning, Christmas Day, Adler was awakened by Joey, complaining that he was cold. Adler sat up and shook his head, untangling himself from between Sarge’s rucksack and Harold’s discarded blanket.
“You look like you’re feeling better this morning,” Adler replied.
Joey grinned his boyish grin and sat up on his elbow. “Some better, but I still can’t walk on my own. Already tried. Y’all must have been unconscious not to hear me fall earlier. I had to drag myself back into bed.”
Adler yawned and adjusted Joey’s blankets. “I didn’t get just a whole lot of sleep. I think it was about 4:00 when I finally nodded off.”
“Two hours sure ain’t a lot of sleep. What kept you up?”
Adler sighed and held up the book he had tucked in his shirt pocket. “Sarge’s Bible. You know, there are an awful lot of scriptures on the Messiah…and this Jesus does seem to line up.”
Joey nodded soberly. “That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you, Micah. Even the prophet you’re named for knew who He was, before He was born.”
“Maybe. I’ve still got more reading to do.”
“Good. There’s hope for you then.”
The others rolled out of their self-made cocoons and began to mill about the room as Marta prepared breakfast. Rudi came over to change Joey’s bandage and feel his forehead. “You’re still warm, Yank. Better take it easy today. There’s no way you can walk.”
“Ain’t got a choice. Sarge can’t carry me all day on his back!”
Harold whispered something to Rudi, who smiled and nodded. “Be right back,” he called over his shoulder. He motioned to Stefan and the two hurried outside. Adler didn’t pay them any mind.
Hilde skipped around the room shouting “Frohliche Weihnachten!”
Adler smiled. “Merry Christmas.”
Marta smiled and set out bowls to fill with left over potato soup.
The door blew open, nearly knocking Lars into the wall, as Harold and Stefan trudged in with two sturdy branches. Lars shut the door behind them and pulled out his knife. When Sarge realized what they were doing he pulled out his as well. They hacked off the twigs and limbs, making two semi-smooth poles. “We need rope and a sheet,” Lars commented.
Rudi hunted through his pack and Adler reached for his. In the same moment, they pulled out a roll of sturdy cord. “Got it!”
Marta laughed as she headed to the small side room and returned with a stout looking sheet. Working quickly, Lars and Sarge tied together the sheet, branches and rope.
“And there you have it!” Harold said with a grin. “A stretcher for Joey!”
Adler half smiled. “Joey, you’re getting king treatment today.”
Marta turned back to her breakfast preparations. Hilde, still very much in the Christmas spirit, started humming a tune. Stefan smiled at her and hummed along.
Then, Marta’s lone voice began to sing.
Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Alles schlaft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab’ im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Sarge smiled as Joey took up the song.
Silent Night! Holy Night!
All is calm; as is bright
‘Round yon virgin, mother and Child.
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace!
Sleep in Heavenly Peace!
Hilde smiled and clapped her hands, soon joined by everyone. “Merry Christmas!”
After breakfast, Rudi helped Sarge carry Joey out on the stretcher while Lars, consulting a map and compass, showed Adler the way back to American lines. “If this is still accurate,” Lars warned. “They are probably much closer by now. And keep a sharp watch for our men.”
Adler nodded and jotted down the directions on his map. “And you for ours, though I’d guess you’d be better off than us in such a situation.”
They turned as Marta and Hilde came out of the cabin, bundled up and carrying their meager belongings with them. They would accompany their soldiers out of the danger zone back to their lines.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye,” Sarge said, shaking hands with each German present. “I’ll admit, I think at times I’d forgotten you fellows were humans too. Thanks for everything.”
Rudi grinned. “Thanks for proving Americans are equals as well. War paints ugly pictures.”
“Hatred too,” Adler replied. He turned to Lars. “I appreciated our talk.”
Lars smiled. “Keep hoping. They may still be out there.”
The soldiers trooped to the wood shed and Stefan handed out their weapons.
“Thank you, Frau Engel, for everything,” Joey called from the stretcher.
“Yes, thank you,” the others replied.
Marta smiled. “Thank you for sharing Christmas with us. May the Lord Bless and keep you.” She turned to Lars. “Shall we go?”
“Ja, forward march!”
The Germans headed one way, the Americans another. But they were different now. Each carried memories that would last the rest of their lives. Hope for peace and healing had been lit in their hearts…all because of a Baby born in Bethlehem.
And know, for the true story that inspire Stille Nacht...
Have a very Merry Christmas! Jesus is the Reason!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.