The lieutenant peered over the edge of the trench. His gaze washing over the landscape of no man’s land. The fog that hung over the battlefield was thick and heavy. The humidity was oppressive and had a smell to it. He watched the lines of the enemy, not 50 yards away. Close…too damn close.
“Poague!” Lieutenant Clarke barked to his private…“come here”. The lieutenant held his arm out backwards toward the interior of the group huddled behind him, without turning his head from the field between the trenches. Poague ducked over to his Lieutenant. With the outstretched arm, Clarke pulled the Private up close. “How we looking on ammo?” Poague thought for a second, then “We got to collect all we can that’s close, we cain’t move out to the bigger pile cuz they got us pinned down”
Poagues eyes were searching his Lieutenants. Clarke kept his watch over the enemy lines…thinking. He didn’t look at Poague. He knew he was a good soldier. They’d had many a battle together to hold this part of their land. But the enemy from the North had come to Georgia to disrupt their lives and pilfer their lands and homes. It had to end here. “We only have 2 guns left Lieutenant, the others jammed…” Poague was looking over at Starr and Buck who were crouched down behind the ammo cache. Buck was on his back with his gun lying across his chest, also looking at the Lieutenant. “Well?” Buck asked, “We got to move or something…”
His opinion was interrupted by the shouts from PFC Clarke of incoming mortars. They started to scatter…nowhere to go! Their flanks were covered by the Northern aggressor’s riflemen, and the grenadiers were locked in on their distance. The Mortars exploded against the lip of the trench spraying red shrapnel in all directions, everyone was yelling now and moving fast. “Keep down! Protect your heads!” Lt. Clarke shouted…Starr cried out, he had made a rolling escape toward the edge of their cover when a bullet skipped off the ground and caught him under his left eye. He was hit!! He was screaming.
A screen door slammed. The barrage halted. Silence on a battlefield is a terrible song. Starr’s moans were the only sound.
The Generals of the 2 armies stood in no-man’s land. Hands on their hips, aprons flapping in the breeze. The General of the Southern forces was holding a fly flap. The Northern General…a wooden spoon.
“We are not telling y’all agin about chucking dirt clods at each other, and shooting bb guns!” General Clarke yelled, screaming and gleaming at both armies. The Yankee scum General was moving towards her troop of men…slapping the wooden spoon against her leg. They tried to desert, but were captured and executed.
Corporal punishment before the face of your enemy is truly an embarrassing thing.