Torn Between North and South
War was in the air! It moved through the south like molasses over a biscuit. When war came knocking on Tennessee’s door, Aaron Richardson could not answer the call.
Born to privilege on Calla, a beautiful plantation nestled into the rolling hills of Tennessee, Aaron rejected both privilege and slavery. He could not wear gray, but could he put on a blue uniform and step onto the battlefield against his home? Against fellow southerners? Against his brother?
His first love’s father unjustly rejected him so he left the south. As Aaron roamed the north, he fell in love a second time. Not only was he torn between blue and gray, but now he was also torn between two women: Deborah Harris and Gertie Carlson. Could he make a choice?
Before he could answer, the turbulent events of the times swept him onto the battlefield. As the war came to a close, the war inside Aaron continued to rage until there was only one chance to save his world. But could the Tennessee Yankee take that chance?
~ Memory: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ~
“Where you from?” the bald recruiter asked around the pipe in his mouth. There may have been no hair on the top of his head, but the man had the thickest, bushiest eyebrows Aaron had ever seen, along with enormous, dark mutton chops on his cheeks, so thick and long it made his face look ridiculously wide.
The recruiter eyed him a moment then went back to his paperwork. As he wrote, he continued to speak around puffs on the pipe, “Tennessee Yankee, eh?”
“Tennessee Yankee?” Aaron repeated, more to himself than to the recruiter. He thought about it a moment. He had never even been in the north until war broke out. Could he actually be a Yankee? Or was he a Tennessee traitor?
“Yeah, we don’t get many from down south. A few. More from Tennessee than Mississippi for sure. Can you shoot?”
“Figures. Seems like all you Southerners can shoot the eyes out of some small animal at some ridiculous distance. I’m sure the animals don’t like it, but personally, I wish we had more of you. This war would have been over by now. Okay, pays $13 a month cash money.” Then he said under his breath, “When you get it.” He became louder as he quickly followed with, “Signing bonus is $40 from good old Abe and another $75 from the great state of Pennsylvania. Sign right here.”
The recruiter handed Aaron a piece of paper and a pen, and Aaron hesitated only a moment before quickly scribbling his signature at the bottom.
“Excellent. You will receive the money at muster. They’ll also administer your oath… You being from the south and all. You will be trained at Camp Curtin.” He handed Aaron a piece of paper. “Report here first thing in the morning.”
Aaron did so. When he was given the bounty, he wrapped the money in a note he had already written. The note read:
Enclosed is my enlistment bounty for the Union army. I have delayed far too long as I did not want to fight against my home state, but that no longer matters. I must fight my conscience, and I want to prove to you and Gertie that not everyone from Tennessee is a barbarian. I will do my best to help bring this war to a faster close. I may never see either of you again, but you have all my sympathy and all my best wishes for the future.
Aaron Richardson, Tennessee Yankee
He addressed the envelope, put the money and note inside, and then sealed it and slid it into the mail slot. He looked down at the uniform he had been given. It was time to get dressed for war.
Author Herb Hughes worked in the computer industry for over two decades then built a successful private business before selling the business and retiring to write novels full time.
“I write in the present, but my stories are about the past and the future: historical fiction and science fiction. I find both fascinating."