Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grading War Letters to Home, Day 8

These are the letters from the eighth (and penultimate) day of the Grading War.  If you landed here by accident and don't know what you're reading, click here for the backstory

12 December 2013, 3:28am
Dearest Leigh
I hope this dispatch will find you in good spirits and in the very best of health. I must apologize for the delay in my correspondence. This week, we have faced trials and challenges that would surely test the Faith of Abraham. I fear that this Cursed Grading War is getting the better of me. At the beginning of these Current Hostilities, I could find joy in the Serenity of the Evening. I could, if only briefly, take solace in the camaraderie of my fellow soldiers. But This War mocks serenity and has no more regard for solace than it does a pocket full of gullyfluff. It destroys everything in its wake, and chokes off what little relief I dare to seek for myself. More often than not, I am sullen. Just a few days ago, I almost engaged in fisticuffs with another soldier, having been driven to near madness by the incessant chattering emanating from his bone box. I am short-tempered, and fearful. Though I survive this seemingly incessant War, I fear it has taken a toll on me that I will not soon be able to measure.

As you know, I cherish each and every letter I am fortunate enough to receive from you. But your last note left a hole in my heart. I had heard but unconfirmed rumors of Art’s demise. Your confirmation of this woeful reality was almost more than I could bear. Phineas was right to weep, as were you. I too wept, and felt as if I had been mortally wounded. I raised my voice in Boundless Sorrow and Tortured Reverence for our dearly beloved fallen friend. Several years ago, at one of my first postings during The War, Art took me in and treated me like a member of his own family. His blazing heart and enduring friendship helped to beat back the isolation and desperation brought about by the Dogs of War. We will not see the likes of him again. May Providence smile upon him, and hasten his journey Heavenward.

I was most heartened to hear of your company’s successful resolution in the struggle with the opposition’s Ethics Class Company. Huzzah! Their reputation for tenacity was no doubt well earned. Indeed, it made its way to our encampment. The truce you reached was, most assuredly, an honorable conclusion to your engagement. The Courage and Commitment that your company is known for is a Beacon from which we all draw inspiration. When you say that the Rebels are well equipped for this battle, you speak the truth. They have provisions aplenty. Their quarters are resplendent. Their materiel is unsurpassed. Time and again, I have heard our forces whisper, under their breath, in the still of the night, “how can we compare and hope to prevail against their seemingly endless onslaught?” You and your fellow soldiers are pointing the way forward for all of us. And for this matchless gift, we cannot repay you.

We can only hope to imitate your accomplishment. In our corner of the War, we are hoping to prevail in the near future against the African American Survey Company. Our first concern is the sheer size of the Company. They are legion! When they march towards our position, we can feel the earth shake beneath our feet. They are a cacophonous lot. And they are ceaseless. We have been engaged in pitched conflict with them now for the better part of a week. They batter us, seeking to break us. But we will not break. In the Book of Jeremiah, God tells his Prophet “they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you.” Despite my resolute Faith, I do not know what will come – victory or truce. But I know this – we will not be defeated.

I was heartened to hear from Susan! Her strength, determination and courage are truly inspirational. Please give her my warmest regards if you should by chance see her again. I also drew sustenance from correspondences from Charles F. Peterson and Sarah Von Der Lippe. Their letters will surely help to sustain me.

I hope that we see our way through to the conclusion of this terrible Confrontation. Until then, I remain yours, always, in the Eternal Bond of Friendship Forged in Blood and Fire,
Charles W. McKinney


9:17am
My dear Friend, Leigh,
It was with great Joy that we received word of your Deliverance and most unexpected Triumph as you and your unit shouldered Arms and began the long March. Our dear Family has faithfully sent along News and though our fields of Struggle are miles apart it has enheartened every one of us in our Unit to know that we are not alone in our hardship.

I wish you a speedy return home, as we all wish for same, and look forward to the day that we can reminisce about our days in the line of Battle and enjoy the fruits of a good fight well fought. I hear from Father that he has (against all hope) procured a half-barrel of good Kentucky whiskey and he promises to save us some for a Homecoming. I wrote to him that he should bury it behind the barn if we are to hope for any of ti lasting until our Return!

As for us, our Unit has seen some action here, and had a great Battle yesterday and the day before. Though there were losses, we have come through with a right good Will, and even last night some small Song and Jest around the fire.

I hope this finds you well, though I know you are on the move and it may find you very late, and I wish you a speedy Journey.
With great Affection,
Yrs, et c. et c.
Ezekiel Beaum'nt
13th Bttn, Design Corp
Syracuse


11:48pm
Dear Charles, 
I hope you will excuse the brevity of my communication but I, like you, write from the front line of this war without end. However brief, I think I can convey to you something of the gravity of the situation.
As I scan the opponents' lines I readily see that many of the strategies and tactics I adopted over the previous months have had but little result. The enemy lines, while thoroughly confused and but lightly armed, are of such great number as to overwhelm the few forces I have at my command. Still, I trust that the moment is not far off when I can call a halt to my activities in this campaign and begin the process of regrouping for our next battle.
Eagerly looking forward to the time when we can see each other again, I remain your humble comrade in the battle,
David Barber
Click here to proceed to DAY NINE of the Grading War Letters

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