FFfAW: A Soldier’s Letter


photo-20161128154638337Chattanooga, Tenn

29th Mass. Co.M

November 29, 1863

Dear Mother,

I hope this letter arrives safely and without much ado. As of this writing I am still, shall I say, safely under wraps. I ask that you not  worry about me for it is not me that we should concern ourselves with but the state of our beloved nation. Dearest mother, it has been some four months since you cried at the sight of the shorn tresses laying on the floor. How could I stay at home merely sobbing after Edmond’s death?  Perhaps it is expected of Frances Meredith Holmes to helplessly sob in despair, but Franklin M. Holmes will go forward to bring the change that needs to be in this world. President Lincoln said it is for the living to resolve that the dead not have died in vain and that our government, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from this earth. Dear Mother – our sons, brothers, fathers and our daughters, sisters and mothers are all people. And one thing this war has taught me is that no matter the color, creed or tongue – we are all people under God’s gracious eyes. War is not men’s business, indeed, it should not be any person’s business.

Prayer Mother, that Lincoln and the Union succeed in bringing this nation divided into one thing and a swift end to the slaughter that has stained our land because men cannot come to an agreeable compromise with compassion in their hearts and minds.

Please send my love to Father, for I am still his child and still revere him dearly. Send my warmest regards to all the family. Also please send socks and stationery. Truly, I am dreaming of your Cod Chowder and at times feel I smell it on the wind.

Yours Affectionately,


written for the 91st Challenge of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, Week of 11-29 through 12-05-2016Thank you Louise, with The Storyteller’s Abode, for our photo prompt this week!

At first, I thought of a mother or wife receiving a letter from a soldier in WW1, but a Google search showed that this was not the correct dress of the period. So, I settled on the Civil War, although even that is a stretch. I pictured a mother getting news from her son. Another Google search and I discovered that Hundreds of women concealed their identities so they could battle alongside their Union and Confederate counterparts.  I did not know this fascinating fact and am so glad I stumbled upon it. I wonder if this is how Terry Pratchett got the idea for his novel Monstrous Regiment?

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-women-who-fought-in-the-civil-war-1402680/#b6KOyPsfUH4HsSED.99
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Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett: It began as a sudden 386371strange fancy…Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry. Cutting off her hair and wearing trousers was easy. Learning to fart and belch in public and walk like an ape took more time.

And now she’s enlisted in the army, and is searching for her lost brother. But there’s a war on and whatever anyone says, their side’s coming off worse. Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training, and the enemy is hunting them.” All they have on their side is the most artful sergeant in the army, a vampire with a lust for coffee and a readiness to fight dirty. And as they take the war to the heart of the enemy, they have to use all the resources of…the Monstrous Regiment.


14 thoughts on “FFfAW: A Soldier’s Letter

  1. Neither did I know that women fought in the Civil War. That is really interesting! When I started reading this letter I knew immediately it was about the Civil War. It is excellent! I have a letter written from the Civil War from a distant cousin and in his letter he asked his mother to send him paper and ink. I enjoyed reading this! I felt like I was the mother reading the letter.

  2. An interesting bit of history in your story. I was also interested to know that women cut off their hair to go and fight in this war. I evidently need to find out more about the American Civil War. 🙂
    You’re right about the style of dress in the photo. It’s definitely earlier than the styles during WW1. It’s actually late 1800s. (I have photos and information about this lady, too. She was a real historical figure.) But, the nice thing about writing flash fiction is that the photos are only a prompt and we can apply them to any situation or time we like.

      • I’m always impressed by the many different interpretations of a prompt. I suppose that’s all part of the fun of writing flash fiction as part of a community. We get to read each others. 🙂

  3. I was going to say that the woman in the picture is actually from around 1900, so she falls neatly between the American Civil War and WW 1, but I notice that my mum (Millie Thom) has already told you! A great story, and I like the letter form for the telling of it. 🙂 It reminded me of the Chinese (and Disney) story, Mulan. I expect there have been women throughout history who disguised themselves as men so they could fight for what they believed in.

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