Henry was sitting in his study, staring blankly at Fanny’s picture, as he had been sitting these many days since the fire. Charles entered cautiously and knocked gently on the inside of the study door. Henry looked up inquiringly. “What is it Son?”
“May we talk, Father? May I draw you away from your regretful thoughts and dreams for just a minute?”
“Of course, Son.” Henry replied, though still staring blankly at Fanny’s picture. “What's on your mind?”
“The war, Father. Th’ war is on my mind. It looks like the rebels are winning.”
Henry sighed. “Well, Son, the war goes on and life goes on and we can't do one thing about either.”
Charles placed his hand gently on his father’s shoulder. “Well, perhaps we can and should do our part. Father, I'd like to go and join the Army of the Potomac.”
Henry stood up and faced his son. “What? Are you crazy?” I lost your mother, I won't chance loosing you. Absolutely not!”
“But, Father—it doesn’t mean that I'll get killed, necessarily. And if I do, I'll kill two of them in the process. We need to defend our country against these rebels, no matter the cost.”
“Do you wish to cause me more grief, my son? There are plenty of other young men more capable and available than you. Let them go, but you will stay here with me.”
“Yes, Father. I'll stay,” he sighed. But his heart was not in his words.
Two weeks later, Henry awoke to find Charles gone and a note left in his room: “Dear Father, I'm so sorry to disappoint and disobey you, but I feel I must follow my own conscious in this matter. I'm going to join the Army of the Potomac. I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your permission, but I cannot any longer. I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would do any good.”
His heart sunk. What would he do now? Fanny was gone and now he was surely loosing Charles. Was God trying to tell him something? No, he thought, not God. He has nothing to with all this. Perhaps He's sleeping or even dead.
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