Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason

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A Voice From The Grave- Excerpt ( to be released soon)

a voice frontChapter Eight


September 1863-

Chickamauga Creek, Georgia





        September 18, 1863, the day started out like any other fall day in Northwestern Georgia. The leaves had started their change of color from the vivid green of summer, to the muted earth tones of reds and browns of fall. Some had already begun to fall to the ground in a soft whisper of wind. The days were still warm from the rays of the sun, but the nights had started turning to a bitter cold.


       Major General William S. Rosecrans of the Union Army began his advance to Georgia, looking for General Braxton Bragg and his men of the Confederate Army.  He was in a great mood this fall day he had already taken the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee without firing a shot and he believed that General Bragg was retreating and he would be an easy target. Especially since Brag was low on troops.


      General Bragg, however, had other ideas. He took his men through a gap at Missionary Ridge and into a valley known as McLemores Cove. In this valley ran a river the Indians had named “River of Blood.” To the white man it was known as Chickamauga Creek. The valley was not a terrain conducive to battle. It was filled with thicket and brambles. There were tangles of trees and vines everywhere.


    However, Bragg knew the area, and he felt this was the right place to face Major General Rosecrans and his minions. This was also the place that Riley Aderholt would no longer fight any longer for the Union Army.  


       Riley Aderholt at twenty-one appeared to be a tall young man. He had coal black hair with green eyes which changed with his moods. His face was long with a square jaw that always seemed to be set in a firm line. His nose was a long roman nose that made him look distinguished. His only flaw appeared to be ears that seemed too small for a man, they were almost feminine. His fingers were long and tapered.


      Riley had mustered into the Union Army from New York. He became part of the Federal XX Corp in the later part of 1862.He had been in several minor battles and had been part of the replacement troops which were sent down to Rosecrans in late summer of 1863. Rosecrans had sent Riley along with the rest of a brigade to Major General George H. Thomas.


      General Thomas placed his men along a four mile line at Chickamauga Creek. Riley, one of the first to dig in felt his heart pound as he and others of his brigade dug shallow trenches to hunker down in until the order was given to fight. He had been marching for several days and his feet hurt from blisters which had risen because his boots did not fit right. But he didn’t dare remove his boots. He knew he would never be able to get them back on his feet and his boots were as important as his rifle. There would be no fires this night, supper would be hardtack and water again.


       As the sun began to set the welcome cool evening air gave way to a bitter fall night. Riley’s wool uniform was wringing wet with sweat from the heat of the Georgia sun, but as it slowly sank in the west the wetness which he had welcomed earlier in the day became like ice next to his skin. He knew from the previous night that before morning he would be bitterly cold and he only had one blanket to keep warm with and sleep on. 


      As he tried to get comfortable before it would to dark to see, he pulled out the letter he had started writing the day before to send home to his family. He wanted to finish it before the daylight faded and get to the post just in case tomorrow was his last day on earth.   



September 18, 1863

  Dear folks,

  We finally stopped for the night. We took Chattanooga without firing a shot. It seems them Rebel boys didn’t want to fight with us. We pushed through Chattanooga, Tennessee and are at a place called Chickamauga. I have been told it is about twelve miles south of Chattanooga. The Indians call it river of blood. I expect we will see fighting tomorrow. It seems like it has been so long since I have seen that blessed place called home. Mother, I want you to know I am well. I am considered one of the men. So there is no need for you to worry. Father, I hope the crops are doing well. I just am sorry I am not there to help you. As soon as I get paid I will send money home so you can hire someone to help you. The weather here is strange. During the day it is warm as summer, but at night it gets bitter cold. We burn up in our uniforms in the daytime because of the wool material. At night we are grateful for them. When it rains we wish we did not have them. They become heavy from the water they hold. Tell my baby brothers I am well. I will try to write more later.


 A .Riley Aderholt



      Riley folded the letter and placed it in his haversack. If he survived tomorrow’s battle he would post it home along with his pay for the month if arrived in time. After all fifty cents would feed and clothe his family for a month back home.

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