Monthly Archives: March 2016
Flowers are God’s promise of a better tomorrow…especially when they bloom where so many soldiers perished at the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
Today is Plant a Flower Day. These gorgeous flowers blooming at Antietam Creek gives us hope where they was nothing but heartache and death and…no, I’ll let the hero in LOVE ME FOREVER, my Civil War Time Travel Romance, tell you what happened that day…
Major Flynt Stephens:
A Union Army battlefield hospital
September 17, 1862
Major Flynt Stephens hated this time of day. Soon twilight would descend over the white hospital tent like a greedy devil waiting to claim the men he couldn’t save. For hours, he labored on the wounded, his hands cutting, sawing, suturing. His skill diligently needed to put these men back together, God willing. The long line of wounded and dying hadn’t stopped since the shooting ended. A new patient was brought in every few minutes and laid down on the blood stained operating table—a door ripped from its hinges and laid across two barrels. His eyes narrowed. Surely, there’d be an end to it. And if there wasn’t? Could he go on?
Yes. As long as I can still see by candlelight.
He continued his work, cutting away the soldier’s bloodied sleeve, stripping away the ripped fabric, pieces of skin sticking to it. Frustration stretched his nerves taut, his fingers digging into the wound, afraid of what he’d find.
The incessant, loud flapping of the red flag outside the tent echoed in his ears as he worked on his patient. Loud, haunting sounds taunting him, whispering to him that their souls had moved on to a better place.
Leaving their shattered, torn bodies behind.
He wondered if the poor bastards weren’t better off, far away from this rotten hellhole of pain and suffering. Here they could still feel the pain.
But not this boy.
Saying a silent prayer, Flynt closed the young private’s eyelids. He was at peace now. The boy wasn’t more than seventeen. His abdomen split open by a screaming minie ball, his right arm shattered, the bone in his right leg splintered open by the lead. Infection had set in, probably from skin and dirt and bits of clothing the bullet carried into the wound.
He laid aside the small bowl containing the pain killing morphine used to dust into the wound. He wouldn’t need it now. The boy was lucky he was spared the horror of losing both an arm and a leg. He was brought in too late to save him. That made him angry. So many young lives taken.
He shook his head in disgust. The survival rate dropped to half so long after the battle ended. Still, from early daylight till dark he worked to put together what other men ripped apart with their canon balls and lead bullets.
Flynt clenched his fists when he dipped his hands into the water basin, the slime and blood sticking to his fingers. Damn that nurse. He asked for clean water, not this putrid mess. He firmly believed filth lessened a man’s chance of survival.
Agitated, he reached for a small bar of brown soap. It slipped onto the dirt floor.
“Fresh water, Nurse,” he called out, “and more soap.”
The dowdy, older woman grumbled and fussed about changing the water. Straight from the creek it was, she protested. Flynt ignored her complaining. He didn’t know which was worse. What man did to his fellow man on the battlefield—tearing apart limbs, slashing flesh, breaking bones—or what he did in the operating room.
His job was to amputate what was left.
They’d used up the last of the chloroform. No telling when fresh supplies would arrive with the Union Army retreating to high ground. Word reached him that Lee was withdrawing his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac, but not before inflicting more casualties. From what he could tell, Union losses were running twice the number as Confederates.
He watched with a heavy heart as two soldiers removed the boy’s body. As long as there was breath in each man brought before him, Flynt would strive to save his life. Yet so many times he failed. It was becoming harder for him to live with that. Thank God the fighting had stopped at Antietam, but already they were calling it the bloodiest day of the war. No one knew for sure how many casualties. More than twenty thousand, he heard.
Tiny shivers inched up and down his neck. That was more than the entire population of Falmouth, where his home stood. Rosebriar. A fine Southern plantation. Flynt grew up in Virginia, but unlike his beloved General Lee, he volunteered for service in the Union Army. His conscience dictated he serve his country.
How could he refuse?
Flynt had received his medical training at Princeton. There the course to become a physician stretched out to two years, unlike most medical colleges that required less than nine months of schooling. Afterward he worked in a hospital in Washington City for a few years, studying and observing the latest ideas in medical research. During his time up North, he saw firsthand how the country worked and he found pride in that. But it was his father, a longtime judge in Stafford County, who gave him the assurance his thinking was right.
“The Union must be preserved at all costs,” he told his son before he died.
Was it only a few months ago Flynt received his commission as surgeon of his regiment, taking the oath through the window of a departing rail car?
Was it? When would this bloody war end?
It was a question that haunted him every day.
“The next man is ready, Major.”
Flynt nodded. The stretcher bearers laid down a soldier who’d seen his share of battles, his eyes big and wide. The man shook, making odd sounds, wheezing, and then coughing up blood.
He got to work, but he never got used to it.
She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
LOVE ME FOREVER is a Kindle Scout winner. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.”
This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!
Thanks for stopping by.