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Saturday, August 2, 2014

A LIFE OF PERIL Chapter One

 
Today begins a New Continued Story - - (5 chapters)
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Country Boys working and having fun

The names of Raymond and Leslie Hawkins weren’t the most common names in the south but two childhood friends were named Hawkins though not related.
They lived in walking distance from each other and from an early age were best friends. Anyone who picked on one of them knew they would have to fight both of them.
When they could they would help each other with their chores and often assist with larger jobs like plowing the fields. They were regularly seen at the same table depending upon which house was setting the tastier meal.
Being raised just below the Mason Dixon line the boys had a bit of the southern drawl but could speak northern if they so desired. This came into play later in their teens.
The boys experienced some of the Quaker influence though not Quakers themselves.  They felt as the Quakers did, “You did no harm to anyone if possible.”
It was when the civil war started that they knew anything about the blue and gray difference.
They were in the gray part of the country even though it was only a couple of miles to the blue part. When the war started the gap between North and South grew along the separating line and people who were friendly were now confused and untrusting as to their loyalties.
The boys being about sixteen were undecided as to the right and wrong of the issues.

Drafted not by choice
One day a wagon came by and told the boys to load up for they were now in the southern army.
They did as they were told and soon found themselves deeper into the south than they had ever been. It was there they were indoctrinated as to the right and wrong of the war and a month later were dressed in the gray of the south.
Unwillingly they had left their family and didn’t know if they would ever see them again.  Raymond left his Ma, Pa and a sister Marilyn who was younger than he by several years.
The enemy was easily discerned.  If he wore blue… kill him. The boys didn’t need to be trained on how to shoot for they could hit anything they could see.
It was only after a few skirmishes with the boys in blue that they realized the seriousness of what was going on.  Already some of the men they were trained with lay dead and had to be buried.
Two years passed and killing became the normal thing to do by boys who were taught to do no harm to anyone. That philosophy was lost the first week of combat.
The colors of the war were the only important thing that mattered. As the south were pushed farther southward the now harden young men could see the war was lost.
In an extremely violent battle with many lost on both sides the southern force were over-ran and the young men found themselves in a gully that was over grown with brush, there were men with both the blue and gray lying dead side by side.
A Sad and Sorry Sight
 
With the northern forces moved beyond them the two young men found their lives in peril with their gray uniforms on. As they looked around they found two blue bellies with gunshots to their head.
Then and there the two young men changed sides by putting on the gray for blue and became Yankees. They emerged from the deep gully at dusk and headed north toward home. By hiding out and getting food from the Yankee encampments they steadily made their way north until they were home.
Alas, their folks were nowhere to be found; in fact they never expected to see them again. They asked the neighbors but they didn’t know if they were still alive or not.
Their parents had left one night without telling anyone where they were going. The boys shed their uniforms and donned some of their old clothes that were a little loose for they had lost weight because of not eating regularly.
Not too far from where they lived there was a Yankee camp of cavalry where new recruits were being trained.
They managed to blend in for no uniforms had been issued as of yet and found a couple of horses that had not been branded with the Yankee brand. 
Finding a couple of saddles that weren’t army issue on them, they managed to get the horses out of camp and headed west. 
Day by day they put the conflict of the North and South farther behind them.
To be Continued

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