By Way of Vicksburg

By Way of Vicksburg

A Story by Sami Khalil
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American civil war story

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Image result for Balfour House paintings VicksburgImage result for Balfour House paintings Vicksburg



By Way of Vicksburg     by Sami Khalil


The key to winning the American civil war according to Abraham Lincoln



Meadowlark’s tunes rang out with sweet, flute-like melodies, contrasting the booms of canons across the battlefields. Even as the trees of frost and fen were sopping through, the caravan of tired men and women forged ahead to Vicksburg, Mississippi, making few stops for rest as the dogs barked closely behind.

Signs of a fiendish war were all around, marking them as a perfect epitome of a nation turned against itself.

It was the fated journey that would take it along the pathway of an axiomatic history; a bloody one.

Tensions were simmering hot between the northern and southern states over issues of slavery. As Abraham Lincoln ascended the reign of presidency in 1860, many southern states seceded from the union, with eager contempt, causing a deadly civil war that unfolded on American soil from 1861 till 1865, when finally, the confederate army surrendered.

Beyond the listings of courage and bravery from each side, many instances were stamped with timid schisms. Portioned were the heroes as headstones outran the heaps of drifting pillories or stoic eyes.

As the caravan got closer to the “Balfour House” at the corner of Cherry and Crawford, Red Cadel and his new bride, Virginia, saw the stately mansion perching upon a high bluff. As invited guests to the grand Christmas gala of December 24, 1862, hosted by the mistress of the house, Emma Harrison Balfour, and her physician husband, William, they quickly disembarked and were ushered in to meet many notable figures, in attendance upon the crowd of dancers in their revelry.

A little past midnight, a courier interrupted the joyful event, announcing the siege of Vicksburg had started to Gen. M.L.Smith.

As the general ended the party, he declared: “This ball is at an end! The enemy is coming down river. All non-combatants must leave the city!”

What transpired next in the 47-day siege was horrific. People took refuge, fleeing the pandemonium, in over 500 caves scattered around the city to escape the relentless shelling from the Federal artillery. It was heartrending for water and food were very scarce where residents resorted to eating horses and mules even rats, feeling the devastation a war brings. Tragically Virginia was bit by a venomous snake, dying in few hours. Red survived and went on to become an inventor. Emma’s treasure trove diary was discovered in the 1990’s, documenting life under the events of that war, at a public library in Birmingham, Alabama.

Vicksburg fell to Union Troops on July 4, 1863, with the chance to control the Mississippi river. Vicksburg was termed, “The Key,” by Abraham Lincoln to unlock many things. The freed slaves were tasked to dig the graves of former masters. They did it with sadness in their hearts and hope for justice.

As I stood solemnly by Emma’s grave which she died on February 25, 1887, at the age of 69, epitaph words engraved on my heart many serene things!

“Blessed are the dead which die in The Lord; They rest from their labors and their work do follow them.”

I glanced a final glance at hills and bluffs of this southern gem, watching steam boats sequined in beauty as I headed back home feigning no bewilderment. I had a silent toast of feelings scattered.

Truth basks separately from all duplicities in the clear sun…By way of Vicksburg!   

Image result for Vicksburg paintings





 

 

  

© 2020 Sami Khalil


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Reviews

It's interesting that you post this at a time when I feel we could have another civil war, the people who I live near are so rabid about the differences tearing our country apart in recent years. It's almost as if your message is to remember we DON'T want civil war, that we NEED to find a way to bridge the hostilities which wrack the public discourse. I like how you tell a story of war that doesn't glorify implements of destruction, but rather, focusing on real people & real heartache (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Sami Khalil

2 Weeks Ago

"It's almost as if your message is to remember we DON'T want civil war, that we NEED to find a way t.. read more
Great Sami. I think the way you've described this slice of history in poetic language multiplies its power. The aftershocks of this uncivil war still define American society today and is being exploited shamelessly by your unspeakable president.
Well done for this.
Alan

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Sami Khalil

2 Weeks Ago

Whoeee! So true and well said dear poet and friend. Sad but true indeed. I'm grateful for the visit .. read more
Historical poetry very well expressed. A deep understanding of what the soldiers endured during the Civil War. Lydi***

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


Sami Khalil

2 Weeks Ago

Wow! I like to touch on subjects of war and peace, love and many other genres. Thank you so much Lyd.. read more
I read this story, (so very well written,) and I am saddened. Wars between nations are bad enough, but war between a nation divided, is I think, even worse. Over here, some centuries before your civil war, we had what is called, 'The war of the Roses,' that lasted for decades; and throughout history there has been many such conflicts.

So many lives, an uncountable number, have been lost, mostly young, and that is what saddens me the most. That, and the fact that despite centuries of conflict, our species may never learn to live in true peace.

Beccy.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Whoeee! I so agree Beccy and it saddens me too. You have a great mind and a gentle heart. I can't th.. read more
Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Note: Maybe you can write something one day about that war you mentioned...
This bit of history was extremely well written. I was captured from the very beginning.
My wife and I visited the historic Vicksburg battle grounds. We viewed the cemetery where so many fine young men from the North and the South were laid to rest.
It brought tears to my wife's eyes.
It was a terrible time in American history.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

So true and well spoken Mr. Lyle. I'm so glad you shared your experience with us and that you liked .. read more
The story captures well the desperation of the residents of Vicksburg. There was indeed a severe food shortage, causing people to eat mules, etc. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4th,1863, followed five days later by that of Port Hudson, La., gave the Union complete control of the Mississippi, cutting the Confederacy in two. Combined with Lee's defeat at Gettysburg on July 3rd, these events marked the turning point of the war.
PS: The illustration depicts Grant's first assault at Vicksburg on May 19th, 1863. It is a stirring rendition, but it is inaccurate. No Union soldiers were ever able to get inside the 3rd Louisiana Redan.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Wow! You are a history buff indeed. Thank you for the info which is valuable and your wonderful revi.. read more
It is interesting to note that we killed each other in a Country that
has gone to War to keep Peace and Freedom alive in other Countries.
Let us pray that our present day Congress can learn from the past
that compromise and working together may very well be the solution to
remaining the bright "Light" for other countries to follow. Or do we stand by
and watch ourselves crumble... like the Rockies and Gibraltar... truly, Pat

Posted 1 Month Ago


Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Whoa! So true and well spoken. A sad chapter in America's history that shows divisive issues, if not.. read more
Patricia Wedel

1 Month Ago

Sami... I just read your Essay again. We live in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which has a lot of Civil.. read more
Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

::::::))))))
Well, Sami, as a history buff, I can sure appreciate this little story within the much larger framework of the Civil War. I have done some reading on the period in the past but your tale here takes me deeper into the siege through the eyes of your chosen characters. By all accounts it was a very brutal siege and much suffering occurred. I found it rather interesting that Vicksburg fell on July 4th, your own Independence day......your history is very much linked to that day, it seems.

As always, i appreciate the thought and tale within a tale style of your storytelling and this one just gives me another little window into an historic happening during a turbulent time. Very well done, my friend. Always well described and interesting to the reader.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Whoa! A history buff, a poet, a thinker and much more indeed you are sir. I love your visits and how.. read more
Doodley

1 Month Ago

You are always welcome, Sami.
Sami Khalil

1 Month Ago

Gracie Mille my friend....
The pic is of The Balfour House.

Posted 1 Month Ago


"Signs of a fiendish war were all around, marking them as a perfect epitome of a nation turned against itself."

Posted 1 Month Ago



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Added on January 19, 2020
Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Author

Sami Khalil
Sami Khalil

Tuscaloosa, AL



Writing
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A Story by Sami Khalil



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