I stop, then stumble and lurch toward the crumbled barricade. A blast of grief drives the air from my chest, the knot from my throat and sends me to my knees. My body shakes as I sob for breath. “There’s – there’s so — so many …” I turn tear-streaked cheeks toward the battlefield. A mist has begun to obscure the rail fence that cuts the field in half.
Just beyond the vanishing outline of the wooden rails, I see them. Gray shadows of men clamoring over, under, around and through that porous barrier; rising, falling and reforming like relentless waves.
They’re clearer now, that army of the Confederacy; worn, whiskered men and stark, bare-faced boys. Grim and unrelenting they march directly into a fusillade of musket fire coming from behind the stone barricade. Pockets of their lines waver and fall; only to be reformed by following soldiers. ‘God, how can they do that? Why would anyone march into the face of certain death like that? How can anyone be that foolhardy and brave?’ A barrage of cannon fire decimates their ranks yet still they come, methodically forward; a sea of ghostly gray.
Frozen in time; I can only watch and weep.