When Robert's sister Susannah gets taken to a Confederate camp, she falls in love with an officer there. Is he really who he seems, or will she find out his biggest secret?
I don't own any of the characters who actually lived. Everyone else is my creation.
We have a story. A true story. One that you have never heard before. It is a story of love, life, and losses:
I woke up and found myself lying in the grass on a warm spring day. In any other circumstance, this would have been a pleasant thing, but it was 1863 and this was war territory. I slowly began to remember what had happened. I had been on her way to visit my brother, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, and Major Cabot Forbes when my horse had been startled by gunfire. After falling from its back, I must have fallen unconscious and my horse had kept going.
Sitting up, I noticed that in the distance was a river. On each of its banks I was less than thrilled to see bodies. A lot of bodies. Suddenly I became aware of movement coming from the left and three men started to make their way towards me. The sun was to their backs and they became silhouettes to my eyes. As they came closer, I could hear their southern drawl. I realized with horror that they were Confederates!
One of them came really close and said, "Hey there, darlin. What's yer name? Yer mighty pretty." As… honored as I was by his comment, I was scared because his friends came and stood around me so that there was no way for me to escape. I silently prayed that they would leave me alone and keep on their way even though that seemed unlikely. But somehow, my prayers were answered in a different way. A way that would change my life.
A man came riding up on his horse, and much to my dismay, he was dressed in the grey uniform of the confederate soldier. "Soldiers," he snapped, and they immediately paid attention, much to my surprise. "Please explain what is going on here, Private Johnson." The man who had originally approached me responded to that address as I examined my savior. He possessed no accent, at least not a southern one, and he was tall. His hair was brown and his eyes seemed to be blue in the sunlight. He sounded very well educated and held himself in a position of authority without appearing proud.
"Miss?" he questioned, "are you alright?" I nodded to his response, unable to find my voice. "Are you with the Union?" Again I nodded, still as mute as before. "And what is your name?" he asked. "Su-susannh Shaw, sir," I choked out. "Well, Miss Shaw, would you mind coming with me to our campsite? This was a Confederate victory," he said, gesturing to the landscape, "and the Union armies are long gone. I promise that you will be safe with us and that no harm shall come to you." He sounded genuine and there was really no other place for me to go than with him, so I agreed to go with him.
I was drawn up onto his horse and I wrapped my arms around his torso, afraid that I might fall off from yet another horse. After a few minutes of riding in silence, he cleared his throat and said, "How rude of me not to introduce myself, Miss Shaw. I am-" he paused, "Major William Simon Davis of the Confederate Army." I was unsure of how to respond so I just thanked him. I noticed him pause before telling me his name and I was trying to decode why. It almost seemed as though he had been trying to tell himself who he was. I was quite confused and as time passed, I found myself becoming very drowsy.
She was quite beautiful, I must admit. Her hair was blonde and fell down in waves onto her shoulders- as well as mine, for she had fallen asleep with her head resting against my shoulder. She probably should have been wearing a hair ribbon, but I assumed it must have fallen out. What a disappointment, I joked to myself. Her eyes were brown, an unusual combination with her hair that simply made her more intriguing. The way that the wind blew wafted her scent to me. She smelled sweet, like after it rains. I would not have admitted it, but I enjoyed having her sleep on the comfort of my shoulder.
After a solid hour of riding, I discerned that we were nearing the camp, so I gently turned my body and shook Miss Shaw awake. Upon entering, I dropped her off at the tent where the other women stayed. There were a few women who had followed their husbands to war, as well as the only female nurse in the Confederacy. Strangely enough, there was one other woman who was from the Union and had come to us some weeks past in the same manner as Miss Shaw. "Here we are, Miss Shaw. This is where I shall be leaving you."
"Will I see you again, Major Davis?" I asked, hoping not to sound eager. He had saved me and seemed to care, so I wanted to know him more that I did just knowing his name. He smiled, "It is very possible. This isn't a very large camp." He walked away and I stood until he disappeared from my view. I was curious about him, but it would have to wait. "Hello?" I heard from a female voice behind me. I turned around and saw a woman with the brightest red hair I had ever seen. "My name is Eliza Miller. Can I help you at all? Would you like some water?" I nodded and she led me into the tent and sad me down on an empty cot. There were four other women occupying the tent, but none of them paid any notice to me, save for Eliza.
She came back with a small cup and I drank the water gratefully. I had not realized how thirsty I was. "I'm Susannah Shaw," I said, "Major Davis brought me here after… well… I don't really remember what happened, to tell you the truth." Then I leaned in closer to her and whispered, "I do not mean to be rude, but who are all of these women and why are they here?" She explained, "Those three over there are wives of some of the soldiers. Mary Albright is on the left, Jeanette Haines on the right and Lisa Craft in the middle. Liza's husband just died, but she wants to stay along. She has no other family. The woman writing a letter is Margaret Wolfe. She is a nurse, the only woman nurse in the Confederacy." "And what about you, Eliza Miller, what is your story?" I asked. "You don't really want to hear about me, I'm from the Union so I don't get a lot of sympathy here except from Major Davis, General Lee, and a few others who want this war to end." I was overjoyed to hear that she was from the Union and told her that I was, too. She was very excited and we became friends in a matter of minutes.
"General Lee, there is a young woman who will be staying with us for a while. She is from the Union and I found her near the battlefield. Private Johnson and his partners in crime were about to, well to put it lightly, harass her. I believe she is currently in the care of Miss Eliza." The General nodded, pleased with my actions and asked me to do another task for him. "I have some… sensitive information to be delivered to General Armistead. I would like for you to deliver it right away. It must not fall into enemy hands, do you understand?" I nodded, accepted the papers he handed to me, stuffed them into my boot, and immediately started off to deliver the letters.