The Last, Long Night (#5 in the Bregdan Chronicles Historical Fiction Romance Series)

BOOK: The Last, Long Night (#5 in the Bregdan Chronicles Historical Fiction Romance Series)
4.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

The Last, Long Night

 

1864 – 1865

 

Book # 5 in The Bregdan Chronicles

 

Sequel to Dark Chaos

 

 

 

Ginny Dye

 

 

A Voice in the World Publishing
Bellingham, WA
www.AVoiceInTheWorld.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Last, Long Night

 

Copyright
2013 by Ginny Dye
Published by

A Voice In The World Publishing
Bellingham, WA  98229

 

www.BregdanChronicles.com
 

www.GinnyDye.com

 

www.AVoiceInTheWorld.com

 

ISBN # 0982717172
 

All rights reserved.  No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the Publisher.

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Bruce – my brother, the dream maker… Thank you!

 

A Note from the Author
 

My great hope is that
The Last, Long Night
will both entertain and challenge you.  I hope you will learn as much as I did during the months of research it took to write this book.  Though I now live in the Pacific Northwest, I grew up in the South and lived for eleven years in Richmond, VA.  I spent countless hours exploring the plantations that still line the banks of the James River and became fascinated by the history. 

But you know, it’s not the events that fascinate me so much – it’s the people.  That’s all history is, you know.  History is the story of people’s lives.  History reflects the consequences of their choice and actions – both good and bad.  History is what has given you the world you live in today – both good and bad. 

This truth is why I named this series The Bregdan Chronicles.  Bregdan is a Gaelic term for weaving:  Braiding.  Every life that has been lived until today is a part of the woven braid of life.  It takes every person’s story to create history.  Your life will help determine the course of history.  You may think you don’t have much of an impact.  You do.  Every action you take will reflect in someone else’s life.  Someone else’s decisions.  Someone else’s future.  Both good and bad.  That is the
Bregdan Principle
… 

Every life that has been lived until today is a part of the woven braid of life.  It takes every person’s story to create history.  Your life will help determine the course of history.  You may think you don’t have much of an impact.  You do.  Every action you take will reflect in someone else’s life.  Someone else’s decisions.  Someone else’s future.  Both good and bad.

My great hope as you read this book, and all that will follow, is that you will acknowledge the power you have, every day, to change the world around you by your decisions and actions.  Then I will know the research and writing were all worthwhile.

Oh, and I hope you enjoy every moment of it and learn to love the characters as much as I do!

I’m already being asked how many books will be in this series.  I guess that depends on how long I live!  My intention is to release two books a year, each covering one year of history – continuing to weave the lives of my characters into the times they lived.  I hate to end a good book as much as anyone – always feeling so sad that I have to leave the characters.  You shouldn’t have to be sad for a long time!

You are now reading the fifth book - # 6 (
Carried Forward By Hope
) will be released on December 2
nd
, 2013.  If you like what you read, you’ll want to make sure you’re on our mailing list at
www.BregdanChronicles.com
.  I’ll let you know each time a new one comes out!

 

Sincerely,

Ginny Dye

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

 

Would it be today?

Carrie Borden turned away from the Chimborazo Hospital building and tents crowding the plateau as she crested the steep hill and moved to the edge of the cliff overlooking Richmond and the James River shimmering below.  She pushed black, wavy strands back into her bun and tried to block out every noise in the overcrowded, bustling capital of the Confederacy.  She was listening for just one thing…

The sound of battle.

Three years into the Civil War, there was no doubt that there would be another attempt to take Richmond. 
On to Richmond
had been the Union battle cry from the beginning.  Every spring there was vicious fighting that tore at the heart and soul of what had once been a united country.  Every spring the buildings behind her filled with horribly wounded men who would never live the life they had known before,
if
they survived their wounds.

But it was just one man who held Carrie’s heart.  Just one man who had kissed her goodbye a few days before and headed out with General Lee’s Confederate troops to meet the massive 100,000 man Union army waiting to attack on the other side of the Rapidan River. 

Carrie’s husband of just one year, Captain Robert Borden, was once again on the battlefield.  Carrie took deep breaths, trying to calm her nerves and focus her mind.  Everyone knew the battle would start soon. 
Today.  Tomorrow.
  

And then it would begin all over again, the constant worrying and wondering of whether Robert had made it through another battle.

Sounds of battle would also trigger wagonloads of wounded men pouring into the hospital and into medical wards and homes, all over the city, that were set up to handle the tens of thousands of men that would need them.

Carrie stared into the distance, her green eyes glistening with tears, took one final deep breath, and turned to stride briskly into the nearest tent. 

Battle would come.  She had work to do.

“Good morning, Carrie,” Dr. Wild called cheerfully, his laughing green eyes glancing up at her from under his cap of curly, rust-colored hair. 

Just the sound of his cheer, no matter how forced, made Carrie feel better.  And it made her realize how thankful she was to be able to make a difference.  She was the only woman working as a true medical assistant to a doctor at Chimborazo Hospital.  Dr. Wild had been the first to give her a chance to use her skills; now they worked as a team.

The years of battle had sickened her; they had also left her even more certain she would become a doctor when the war ended.  The ridicule she had suffered from so many when she had first arrived at the hospital had done nothing but steel her determination.

“Good morning, Dr. Wild!” she called out, glancing down the rows of what was mostly an empty hospital ward.  Most of the soldiers wounded in earlier battles had already been sent home or back to the battlefront. 

“Will you check all the drug supplies?” Dr. Wild asked.  “I’ve had the women to stock everything they have made so far.  I’m afraid we’ve got little but what has been created.”

Carrie nodded grimly.  The blockades of the Southern coastline by the Union navy had been grimly successful, blocking out the drugs and medicines so desperately needed to treat patients.  Once again, Carrie sent deep waves of gratitude to Old Sarah, now dead, who had taught her the magic of the herbs filling the Virginia woods.  She had directed groups of women all spring in collecting plants and then turning them into the herbal medicines and treatments that would be the only relief many of the men would have. 

“I checked everything before I left last night.  We’ve got a good supply of the most important medicines.  The women will continue making them.  They’ve become quite good at it.”

“They’re angels,” Dr. Wild agreed.  “All the beds are ready.”  He walked to the open door and stared north.  “Now we wait.”

Carrie moved forward to stand beside him.  The air was still; the whole city held its breath as it waited for the inevitable.  Though the sun shone hot and bright, she could feel the heavy, dark clouds that had settled over the entire country.  Storm after storm had wrought tremendous damage, but they weren’t done yet. 

The worst was yet to come.

Carrie shook her head to dispel her gloomy thoughts and then smiled when she saw Janie striding up the hill.  Carrie had finished breakfast with her friend just an hour earlier, but she was already in need of Janie’s steadiness.

Janie looked over and then veered off her course to another tent to come join them.  She took her position at the door and gazed north, just as Dr. Wild and Carrie were. “Will it start today?”

“I don’t know,” Dr. Wild said.  “We’ve been told to be ready, but there is no definite word on whether General Meade has begun to move his troops.  I suppose that, like always, we’ll know when the wagons start rolling in.”

He looked at Carrie with deep sympathy. “Any word from Robert yet?”

“No, but I didn’t expect there to be.  Both he and my father believe this will be the hardest fought battle for Richmond yet.”

“Because of General Grant.”  Dr. Wild wasn’t asking a question.

“Because of Grant,” Carrie agreed.  “He doesn’t have the cautious nature of the generals who have come before him.  Robert believes we’ve been lucky.  There have been so many times the city could have been taken, but the generals didn’t push forward.  They gave up and left.”  She shook her head sadly.  “But not before they injured or killed thousands of our men.”

“But those generals weren’t fighting against General Lee,” Janie protested. 

“That’s true,” Carrie agreed, “but Robert told me General Lee just doesn’t have enough men to stop them.  His troop numbers are much smaller, and the soldiers are in much worse condition.”

“Yeah, we may not look so good, but we’re tougher than them Yankee boys any day!”  One of the few soldiers left in the ward had heard them talking – his voice rang out in protest.  “I’ll be out of this bed soon, and then I’ll be back fighting.  Them Yankees ain’t coming down to take our country!”

Carrie and Dr. Wild exchanged a somber look.  Both of them knew the soldier from Georgia wouldn’t ever go back into battle.  They had barely saved his life - they had not been able to save his leg.

He seemed to read their thoughts.  “Don’t be worrying ‘bout this missing leg of mine.  I reckon I can just strap on a wooden one and still aim a gun!  I ain’t going down without a fight!”

And that, Carrie thought with a sigh as she smiled encouragingly at the soldier, is exactly why this war was still destroying lives.  Neither side was willing to give in; there was no chance of peace.  The war would simply have to burn itself out.

Janie changed the subject.  “I tried to get information about Eddie again.”

Carrie turned to her eagerly.  She had been trying for almost two years to find out what happened to the man now languishing in Castle Thunder Prison.  Opal, one of her father’s slaves, had moved to Richmond from Cromwell Plantation to be with her cousin, Fannie, and work at the state armory munitions building.  She had been so happy, that is, up until the day Fannie was killed in an explosion at another munitions plant, and her husband, Eddie, caught as a spy, had been thrown into prison for treason. 

Opal had returned to the plantation with Fannie and Eddie’s four children, now her sole responsibility, and was determined to stay there until their father was released from prison. 

“Any luck this time?”

“I’m afraid not,” Janie said heavily.  “Captain Alexander doesn’t feel compelled to share anything about the inmates.”

Carrie tightened her lips.  “He is a hard man.  His time in a Union prison before he escaped has given him no sympathy for anyone at Castle Thunder.  I’ve heard conditions there are cruel and deplorable.”

“Unfortunately, that is very true,” Dr. Wild agreed.  “Which will just make things that much harder for one of the newest Castle Thunder guests.”

BOOK: The Last, Long Night (#5 in the Bregdan Chronicles Historical Fiction Romance Series)
4.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
The Zombie Evolution by Burke, Rowan
What Maisie Knew by James, Henry
Dead Chaos by T. G. Ayer
You Never Know With Women by James Hadley Chase
Because of You by Cathy Maxwell