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Tuesday, May 1

My last thoughts

The following thoughts are those of Pvt. Freeman as he clings to life after the battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863.




I don't wanna die.

We just fought the Rebels, and as we all stagger, barely able to drag our limp bodies towards the stream, I know I could die. I fear the moment when my heart will give out. I almost want to let it. If I wanted to, I could just lay in this spot until death came to claim me. But I force my body to keep moving. Not for me, but for Mama. I promised her I would return, and I am a man of my word. I have lost the feeling in my legs and waist. I am a bloody mess. I don't even know if it is my blood or another's. Probably both. As I look around, I notice I am one of the lucky ones. One man's face is just a piece of dangling flesh, his nose and other facial features threatening to fall off, as tas only thing keeping them intact are tiny strings of tissue. Many men have mutilated body parts. I drag myself further, looking at nothing, just trying to live. There is something in my way, It doesn't register on my mind yet what it is, but as I struggle to move past it, I realize it is the man who was in front of me a while ago. He is dead. I know because of the doll-like stare he has, void of any emotion. I say this with no fear, no emotion because I am used to death now. It is everywhere. My whole body screams in protest. It begs me to stay in place, begs me to stop using it. I want to stop, but I know I shouldn't. Suddenly, I see spots. It is really bright here. When did it get so bright? Am I dying? What is going on? My body is fighting against me. Gostopgostopgostopgostop. Dielivedielivedielivedielive. I can't fight with my body. My breath is becoming short. It is hard to breathe. OhlordIamdyingIcan'tseewhereI'mgoingwhyisitsoblank. Lightsareflashingmybodyistooheavyforme.

...


I open my eyes and realize I lost consciousness. How I woke up at all is a miracle only God himself could have given me. I realize I need water, and head to the stream at the rate of a snail, since instill can't seem to get up. I try. And I fall. Won't attempt it again. I head to the water and see many men who's faces are all the way in the water. I do the same.
Ahhh, water! It's a beautiful thing. I have enough for now. But I can't get up. Why can't I lift my head out? I will die now if I don't get out. If I die, I want to die as a man, defending his country, not drowning in a stream. I try with all my might to lift my head up. It does not work. I'm going to die now. Wait, I can roll over, and I do. It gets me out of the water and I breathe in as much air as I can. Life! You don't see the importance till its almost been taken from you! I think I will rest here for a while...

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