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Authors: Gilbert L. Morris

Gallant Boys of Gettysburg

BOOK: Gallant Boys of Gettysburg
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T
HE
G
ALLANT
B
OYS OF
G
ETTYSBURG

G
ILBERT
M
ORRIS

M
OODY
P
UBLISHERS
CHICAGO

© 1996 by
G
ILBERT
L. M
ORRIS

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Interior and Front Cover Design: Ragont Design
Back Cover Design: Brady Davidson
Cover Illustration: Brian Jekel

ISBN: 978-0-8024-0916-4

We hope you enjoy this book from Moody Publishers. Our goal is to provide high-quality, thought-provoking books and products that connect truth to your real needs and challenges. For more information on other books and products written and produced from a biblical perspective, go to
www.moodypublishers.com
or write to:

Moody Publishers
820 N. LaSalle Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60610

5 7 9 10 8 6 4

Printed in the United States of America

To Staci

my granddaughter
You owe me a hug and a kiss for this dedication!

Contents

  
1. An Urgent Plea

  
2. The Rebels Are Coming!

  
3. Lee Moves North

  
4. “God Is Always There”

  
5. Time for a Birth

  
6. Tom Gets a Surprise

  
7. A Hill Like a Fishhook

  
8. A Walk into Peril

  
9. Field Hospital

10. Any Port in a Storm

11. A Funny Sort of Dream

12. “I’m Not Worth Bothering With”

13. Perilous Journey

14. Old Friends Meet

15. Another Good-bye

16. Needed: One More Miracle

1
An Urgent Plea

B
e still, Daisy! I’m sick and tired of fooling with you!”

Leah Carter, seated on a three-legged stool, slapped the glossy hide of the surprised Daisy, who turned to look at her and utter a long, low moo.

Leah endured the gaze of the enormous brown eyes of her favorite cow, then sighed heavily. Patting Daisy’s heaving side, she said, “I’m sorry, Daisy—it’s not your fault. I’m just not fit to live with today.”

A rebellious expression on her face, she leaned her head against Daisy’s flank and began milking again. Streams of white liquid drummed into the tin bucket, and soon frothy milk half filled the pail.

“That’s enough for now. You’ll need the rest of your milk for Suky.” Daisy nodded her head as if in agreement, and Leah stroked the animal fondly between the horns.

“I’ll bet if it were
your
birthday,” Leah muttered, “Suky wouldn’t forget it.” Again Daisy mooed sympathetically—or so Leah took it. Her lips pursed, and she touched the curving horns for a moment, then whispered, “It’s pretty bad, Daisy, to have your fifteenth birthday and not a single soul even notices it!”

She opened the gate, and Daisy ambled out of the stall, where she was greeted enthusiastically by her calf. Suky at once began having his evening
meal. Leah watched for a moment, then picked up the bucket and started for the house.

Leah was a tall girl—too tall, she thought, calling herself “tall and gawky.” Actually she was not gawky, though she was taller than most girls her age. She wore a pair of faded blue overalls that had once belonged to her brother, Royal, and noted that she was beginning to fill them out more than she had the previous year.

Her eyes were an odd color, sometimes seeming to be light green but at other times light blue. A relative who had been to sea once remarked, “Your eyes are just the blue-green color of the ocean at certain times of the year, Leah.” Her braids, a rich blonde, came down almost to her waist. Leah was an attractive young woman—and on her fifteenth birthday she had hoped someone might even tell her so.

Reaching the fence that surrounded the barn, she slipped through the gate muttering, “At least somebody could say, ‘Happy birthday,’ you’d think!” Leah kicked at Max, the black-and-white shepherd dog that came loping up to greet her with his red tongue lolling. Her foot merely grazed him, but he let out a yelp and backed away, eyeing her cautiously.

“Get away from me, Max!” she said and then at once felt terrible. The two were very close, and she at once bent over saying, “I’m sorry, Max. Here. You can kick me if you want to—or bite me.”

Max clearly had no desire to do either of those things. Being reassured by the note in her voice, he came forward again, tail wagging furiously. He licked her face, and, in an effort to get away, Leah stepped into a slight hole in the ground.

“Noooo!” she cried, finding herself falling. She tried to balance the milk, but as she went down full length, it sloshed down the front of her overalls. “That does it!” she muttered and threw the bucket blindly as far as she could.

“Whoa! What’s going on, Leah?”

Leah looked up to see Ezra Payne, who had approached without her noticing and now came running. He put a hand out, saying, “Here, let me help you up.”

“I can get up by myself!”

Leah scrambled to her feet and felt her face flush with embarrassment. She stared at the boy defiantly. “Well, go on and laugh. I can see you want to.”

Ezra Payne was seventeen with warm brown eyes and mahogany colored hair. Since he had come to live with the Carters, the two had grown to be very good friends. Ezra could never forget that she had practically saved his life.

Ezra had escaped from a Confederate prison camp close to Richmond, and it was Leah who found him almost dead with fever. She hid him on her uncle’s farm and, along with Jeff Majors, arranged his escape. Ezra was an orphan with no family at all and had been glad to stay on and work for Leah’s parents as a hired hand.

Leah was usually good-tempered, but now her brows were pulled down in a frown, her lips in a thin white line. She seemed to be daring him to laugh.

Ezra hesitated, then protested, “Why, I wasn’t laughing.” He brought back the bucket, saying mildly, “Everybody falls down once in a while.”

Leah wanted to snap at him. She had already lashed out at Daisy and at Max—but that had not been very satisfactory. She had carefully hinted to Ezra more than two weeks earlier that her birthday was on June 15. Yet he had not said one word. But then, neither had anyone else! She said almost bitterly, “The older I get, the clumsier I get.”

She started toward the house.

Ezra walked along by her side. He acted almost afraid to speak. He was a mild-mannered young Northerner, and living in Kentucky had been a trial for him. Leah knew that. He had learned that Southerners had a great deal of pride, and now Leah, angry and with the front of her overalls soaked with milk, must have looked rather formidable.

“Well,” he said cheerfully at last, “your pa’ll be back pretty soon, and maybe you and me can go with him on another trip to take stuff to the soldiers.”

Leah’s father was a sutler. He sold supplies and Bibles to the soldiers of the Union army. Leah had gone with him on earlier trips and so had Ezra. Ordinarily the thought of such a trip would have pleased her, but she said stiffly, “I don’t want to go out on any old wagon.”

Actually she would love to do that very thing, for following the army had been adventurous and a great deal of excitement. Her father believed that God had called him to distribute Bibles and tracts to the troops, and Leah had thrown herself into this work with a great deal of pleasure. Now, however, she was upset and simply shook the braids that hung down her back in an angry gesture and walked up the front steps.

Ezra followed close behind her. “I think we’re gonna have fresh pork chops for supper.”

“I don’t want any old pork chops!”

She marched into the house and started for her room, but her mother called, “Leah, come into the dining room, please.”

Rebelliously Leah shot a glance at Ezra, who was standing watching her. Then she flounced down the hall and into the large dining room, expecting to see her mother.

“Happy birthday! Surprise! Surprise!”

Leah stopped as abruptly as if she had run into a wall. The dining room was packed with people. With a startled gaze, she saw a huge cake sitting in the middle of the table, while on each side were piled colorfully wrapped gifts. Her mother stood behind the table along with her nineteen-year-old sister, Sarah. Sarah’s arm was around ten-year-old Morena. Several neighbors were there, including the sons and daughters of the families that lived close, and Leah felt absolutely awful.

Ezra came in to stand beside her. He grinned broadly, catching her eye. “Well, you’re all dressed up for your birthday party, Leah.”

Leah looked down at her faded, ragged blue overalls soaked with milk, and she blushed. “This is awful!” she said.

She turned to go, but Ezra caught her by the arm and held on. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “You look all right to me.”

Mary Carter, Leah’s mother, stepped out from behind the table. “This was mean,” she said, but there was a smile on her lips. “But we wanted to surprise you.”

“Well, you surprised me all right,” Leah said ruefully. She felt ashamed of the way she had been acting and managed a smile. “Let me go change clothes, and I’ll be right back.”

She ran back to her room, but when she opened the door and stepped inside she stopped abruptly. There on the bed was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen. It was light green with small white flowers, and it was made of silk. Leah knew her mother had made it, laboring over it secretly, and she squealed with delight. Stripping off her old overalls, she quickly washed her face at the washstand, then slipped into the dress.

Now she saw at the bedside a pair of brand-new shoes, the ones she had longed for for a long time, high-topped, light tan shoes with high heels. She pulled on stockings, then put on the shoes and quickly arranged her hair in front of the mirror. She was shocked at how mature she looked in the new dress. And it fit perfectly!

The party was a complete success. Besides the new dress from her mother and the shoes from Sarah, there were smaller gifts from the others. One that took her breath away was handed to her by Ezra. It felt heavy, and with excitement she pulled the paper off. When it was peeled away, she took a deep breath and said, “Ezra, it’s beautiful!”

It was a wooden box made of walnut, exquisitely carved and finished with a high sheen. She lifted the lid and saw that the inside was lined with green felt. When she looked up, Leah’s eyes were glowing. “It’s beautiful!” she repeated.

“You can keep all your jewelry in there,” Ezra said, rather embarrassed.

One of the boys from the next farm grinned. “Or all those love letters you get from Jeff.”

A laugh went around the room, and Leah flushed. She stroked the lid of the box and said, “We always had our birthdays together—Jeff and me—before the Majorses left for Virginia.”

BOOK: Gallant Boys of Gettysburg
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