A Gettysburg Salvation

Writer Author  Terry L Richardson
Christian Book Excerpt : Salvation  - Fiction  Yes

Christian Author Writer A Short Story taken from his un-published book "Confederate Redemptions"

“Attention Company” shouted Sargent Colson, as he was raising his musket into the air to form his company of Florida Confederates. The sun was hot already on this July 3rd morning. With the clanging of canteens and the smell of wet leather, the frazzled group of make shift soldiers gathered in a straight line at attention with muskets glimmering in the sunlight. Only moments before there was an un-easy feeling in the air. The men knew that the battle has not been going well for the Army of Tennessee and it appeared to them there were more blue bellies up yonder than they had ever seen. The tree line across the field seemed almost black with uniforms and an unending line of heavy parrot cannon in front of them was sure to make Gettysburg a memorable battle. “Attention to orders” bellowed the battle worn Sargent. As he stepped back into the line Captain Payne stepped to the front of the company line. “Attention company, in place rest” the Captain shouted. “Gentlemen, I am shua you all know by now General Lee does not intend to retreat. In just a few moments General Longstreet will give the order for the artillery to commence firin on the middle of the enemy lines. After a sufficient barrage of artillery fiah has been laid upon that line, we shall march across the field and take the enemy in the middle weah they are weakest. I do not have to tell you that the path is not goin to be an easy one. No suh… we will have to fight foa every inch of ground billy yank gives up”. Private Walters could not help but to let his mind drift somewhat as the captain spoke. He looked to his right and left across the field were many of his friends and neighbors were standing in dirty gray uniforms, tattered slouch hats and make shift haversacks. Even from such a great distance he could see the terror and fear in many men’s eyes. Most knew that this would be their final resting-place. In the pockets of so many were letters freshly written to loved ones back home telling of their love for their families with final wishes to be carried out. Private Walters had once feared an untimely death but last night changed all of that. The short walk he took across the camp to the blazing fire of the Chaplain’s camp was the most important journey of his life.

Last night Private Thomas Walters name was written in the lambs book of life. Private Walters still remembers the smell of wet oak and burned coffee grounds as he sat down on a tree stump to listen to Chaplain Richards speak from the Holy Bible. “Do you know whah you will spend eternity if you catch a musket ball tomorrow? If you do not know Jesus Christ as yoa personal savior, you will burn in hell for all eternity. Can you imagine being in a place weah theah is more pain and suffering than in a field hospital and gentlemen, theah are no breaks. You will suffer and burn all day and all night for eternity. Jesus does not want that for you. He loves each one of you and has made a way out foa you if you will only take it.” Thomas had heard enough. If Jesus would save him, he would gladly give his life to him. After saying the sinner’s prayer, Thomas could not believe how light he felt. All the load of all his sins was gone in an instant. He immediately began praying to the Lord. He was shocked when he heard a still small voice speak back to him. Why hadn’t he done this years ago, why did he have to put off serving Jesus until he was about to die? For nearly two hours Thomas repented of the ways of his life. First he cried and then he laughed. How wonderful this new found salvation was. He had told every person that would set a spell with him about his Jesus. Standing there in line, Thomas could not help but to grin from ear to ear.

A drum roll began in the distance behind the Florida boys and they all knew that it was the drumbeat of death. As the colors moved gracefully flowing in the breeze to the front of the brigades and the officers moved to the front of line, there was a strange hush in the ranks. Thomas swallowed heavy as the officers drew their swords and raised high above their heads to a forward march position. Thomas at one time considered himself cursed to have born with height lacking but today he did not mind being on the front line. He knew that all the taller boys behind him had not the assurance of his Lord and savior. Thomas did however lead Private Downs beside him to the Lord this morning. Looking around Thomas saw many a man moving his lips in prayer as they marched steadily across the corridor of death obediently. “Thomas, are yea skeered any?” asked Private Downs. “Yea Jimmy, I am bit. I done told you to put you trust in Jesus Jimmy. If we fall today we will be in the presence of the Lord. I don’t want to die Jimmy, but I’m a ready if in it happens” responded Thomas.

Soon the sound of musket fire grew closer and closer. Orders were given to not fire until after crossing the old fence line. Thomas heard the whistle of mini bullet time and time again pass by his head, he watched many of his friends fall in an explosion of blood as the grape shot from the cannons tore holes in the lines. Each step he took he felt the crackle dried corn stalks and hard dry earth. “Quickly men, double time” shouted General Armistead as he motioned his troops forward to the stone wall of the enemy. Thomas saw his young friend Jimmy take a hit to the chest and stumble and fall. With tears in his eyes, Thomas yelled back “ I will see you in a few minutes on the other side with Jesus Jimmy. Wait for me!” Thomas had only taken another ten feet when he felt a sharp pain to his stomach, he grabbed at it as if to stop the pain and felt a warm liquid gushing out. He stood for a moment then fell to his knees. “As he sat there a minute he looked up and cried out “Jesus! ,Jesus.. help me Lord… I’m afraid Lord”. As his breathing became labored he rolled to his side and continued to call out Jesus. A surgeon soon came to his side and told him to hang on. As Thomas watched the surgeon he watched his head shake no to another. The surgeon got up from the ground, wiped the blood on his apron and motioned his stretcher barer to move on to the next man. Suddenly Thomas did not feel alone and someone grasped his hand in his. Thomas looked up and saw a bright-lit figure, it was Jesus. “ Thomas my child I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you. Thomas do you remember the prayer you said last night? I have made a home for you with me in heaven. My Father is waiting for you. Jimmy is already there.” Jesus said with compassion in his voice. Thomas looked across the field of blood and death and saw other limp forms on the ground. But now he saw something else. Beautiful beings taking the hand of many soldiers and helping them to their feet. Across the field he also saw this same wonder happening with the boys in blue. The sounds of musket fire and artillery explosion began to fade away in the background. As Thomas took the Angels’ hand he began to rise up over the field. Thomas looked down at his lifeless body and the mounds of dead men and boys upon the ground. He did not feel sadness, but he felt joy. Joy that he was going to be with Jesus, joy that all the pain and suffering of war was over. Joy that he would one-day see his loved ones again. Thomas had tried to prepare for that day earlier this morning. He wrote a letter to his family telling them of his new found salvation. He explained in great detail how he hoped to see them all in heaven, that all they had to do was except Jesus as their personal savior and ask forgiveness for their sins. In the final words he signed “ Mom, Dad and sis, do not cry for me, for I will see you in heaven with my Lord one day. Look for me, I will not be wearing gray or blue but I will be wearing a glorified body and I will be waiting on you.” In almost a split second Thomas was standing in front of Jesus and a great throne. Jesus took Thomas by the hand and softly spoke “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Terry L. Richardson © Oct.10,1998

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