Between Two Tides

“General, an urgent message for you has just arrived here from Washington” shouted a horseman. Bleary eyed, he lit the lantern that sit beside his cot, illuminating his heavily bearded and down-trodden face. Sitting up and rubbing his eyes, he opened the letter.

My dearest Longstreet,

It is as we have feared. The Rebels must have caught word of our plan and pushed theirs forward, and have done the unthinkable: they have stripped us of our leader, and our last hope of uniting this hanging by a thread nation…they have shot President Abraham Lincoln, and he has died tonight. The tide of this Civil War seems to be changing course again, and this time for the worse.

I know not when you shall receive this letter, but I pray if finds you with haste. Once you receive this message, make way to Lexington. I as well as the other leaders await you. This Rebellion must no longer continue. -The Northern Star Fighters, 15 April, 1865.

 

Crumbling up the letter in his hands, he buried his face in his hands.

“General Longstreet, what is it sir?” inquired the horseman. With red eyes, Longstreet raised his head.

“Ready my horse. I ride for Lexington, and do so alone.”

“But sir, that is Northern controlled space, I cannot allow you to head that far North alone, sir.”

General Longstreet sprung up from his cot and seized the horseman by his gray uniform, breathing heavily and whispering “Am I not the commander of this mighty army? Am I not the one wielding authority here?!”

Of course sire, my apologies,” coughed the horseman. “I will ready your horse at once, sir!” Longstreet tossed the soldier out of his tent, and splashed his face with the cistern of water. As he washed his face, he gazed into the mirror before him, his eyes red and on the verge of tears.

“…too mighty an army.”

 

5 years later–

A carriage rattled by in the street, clanging and clattering as it slowed to a stop against the cobblestones that made up the road outside.

“Keep your head down!” whispered Quincy. “We need to take the carriage by surprise”. The coach driver shouted in French at the gate operators who struggled to understand the language. Gesturing wildly for them to open the gate, the carriage driver climbed down to attempt to open it himself.

“I think now is our chance!” whispered Terrance. Just as he was about to run out to the back of the carriage, four gray garbed soldiers turned the far corner and started towards the cart.

“Looks like we’ve got a little bit of company” stated Quincy, pulling Terrance back into the cover of their hiding spot.

“So what do we do? We need the cargo that’s in that carriage!” said Quincy, getting visibly agitated. As he watched the soldiers make their way closer and closer to the cart, he noticed that two of the soldiers were stumbling and leaning on the others. They all were drunk.

“I’ve an idea.” said Quincy. “Keep your eyes on me, and wait for my signal.” Stepping out from behind the hay and barrels that served as their hiding spot, they began walking straight toward the gray garbed soldiers.

“Hey, what do-…do you think you’re doing, keep your di-..distance!” One of the soldiers shouted.

“Is this not America? Am I not allowed to walk where I please?” said Quincy, his arms outstretched from his sides.

“I’m not going to say it again, boy, keep your di-…distance!” the soldier slurred.

“Now Terrance!” Quincy shouted. Terrance lifted from his spot behind the barrels and opened fire upon the gray garbed soldiers, who each struggled to take their rifles and pistols out and ready.

“For Lincoln and the North!” Quincy shouted, his own pistol firing into the Confederate soldiers that were desperately trying to turn and run for their lives.

“Please monsieur! I am just a coach driver ! No violence for me ? S’il vous plait!” the carriage driver pleaded.

“Terry, keep your gun on him while I check the coach.” Quincy shouted.

“You got it, take a look” he replied. Dropping the flat bed of the carriage, crate after crate spilled out of the bag, nearly crushing Quincy’s feet. One of the crates split open, sending hay as well as its main contents onto the cobblestones.“Good God Almighty…” Quincy breathed.

Laying on the street were several repeater rifles, all labeled and branded “United Confederate Army” on the stock.

“Uh, Terrance. Good news and bad news”

“What is it, Q?”

“Looks like we hit the motherload, but the bad news is that if this cart has this many guns, then the  United Confederate Army most likely has a ton more of these carts moving around the states at any given moment.”

In an undisclosed D.C. Apartment–

“What is it that President Robert E. Lee wants, exactly?” the figure asked, his back turned to the table. “I fear he is starting to become suspicious. I know not how much longer I can keep him ignorant of my true allegiance. It’s a miracle from God that he hasn’t caught on since Lincoln’s assassination 10 years ago.” Said Longstreet. “The death of Abraham Lincoln was an utter tragedy, and but placing a man such as Robert E. Lee into the White House is an even bigger tragedy. He must be removed, but with the success that he has exhibited with the Civil War being won in his favor, the people will certainly not impeach him and vote him out of office.” “I know. He is in the good graces of a majority of the country. He will not easily be removed.” Replied Longstreet. “Then I think you know what must be done. Fire with fire, Mr. Vice President.” Longstreet stood silently. “Getting an assassin that close to Lee will not be an easy feat. After all, Lincoln’s death being his own plan, he is certainly privy to the idea that the North Star Fighters will try to have him killed eventually.” “This is true, but that is why the killing stroke will not come from a stranger or a ghostly face, but from the heart of his trust.” The figure turned to face Longstreet, the dim candle light illuminating his face. “They killed a dear friend of mine, it is only fitting that a dear friend be the one to do him in as well.” “But Frederick, if I fail, our only insight into what Lee plans will be gone. All hope of the North Star Fighters continuing the fight will die with me!” “I’m afraid that is the risk that must be taken. The security he keeps is just too tight to attempt anything otherwise.” “What about you? Surely he will take a visit from Frederick Douglass, at least as a favor to his predecessor.” “This is the only way, James. The cabinet voted and we must know, are you in,” Frederick opened a drawer from the desk and removed a small pistol. “…or are you out?”

 

 

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