TIME JUMPER

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CHAPTER 32

Ethan’s pants glistened with blood. Though the sun burned hot, he felt chilly and lightheaded. Through the fence, he watched Union troops approach at a half trot. He looked back the way he and Jasper had come. Blue-clad soldiers streamed over the crest where Ethan had been shot. He and Jasper huddled between two converging enemy forces. But why were Yankees headed toward each other? Ethan peered between the pickets again.

“Jasper, are my eyes playing tricks? Isn’t that a Confederate flag they’re carrying?”

“Must be a souvenir.”

All doubt vanished five seconds later when the troops approaching from the corner broke into a run straight for Jasper and Ethan and the Union forces coming from the hill to the east. Just as Ethan and Jasper were lining up their first shots, a sound Ethan had never thought he’d hear again ululated through the humid afternoon. Ethan’s grandfather had once demonstrated this sound for him. It chilled the heart. It rose from the throats of the hundreds of soldiers who dashed up the street to do battle. They roared the Rebel Yell. Ethan could not doubt whose army these bluebellies belonged to, regardless of their clothing.

Jasper gave Ethan a strange look. “Now I seen everything. It’s jest like you said, Ethan.”

As the Northern-clad Confederate soldiers streamed to the edge of town past Ethan and Jasper, the roar of gunfire drowned out the yell, and then all turned to bedlam as they reached the true Yankees. The Union soldiers didn’t know who to shoot at. In the confusion, the fresh southern troops, clad in their spoils from the Harper’s Ferry arsenal, pushed the invaders back across Burnside’s Bridge and bought Robert E. Lee a draw as dusk thickened to night.

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