"My dear Hannah: We're camped nigh a town called Gettysburg tonight.
I take pen in hand to write to you, my love, by the flickerin' candlelight.
From afar I hear the beat of Rebel drums preparin' fer battle on the 'morrow.
Oh, my darlin' Hannah! I ain't never knowed such loneliness and sorrow!"
"How I long to be with you and the children 'round our family hearth.
Ya'all mean the world to me, more than anything else on God's earth!
I recall so many times biddin' a sad farewell at our humble cabin door,
And marchin' off with my home brigade as we faced the cruel war!"
"I'm a-thankin' ye fer the chicken and apple pie you sent last week.
I shared it with my friends - it brightened our day which elsewise was so bleak.
This evenin' I read from my tattered Bible the Twenty-third Psalm.
We shared it many times at our family altar - it gives me such great calm!"
"I 'spect to be comin' home to help bring in the crops later on this fall,
And sit 'round the board to enjoy a bountiful Thanksgivin' with ya'all!
So fatten up old Tom Turkey, make some dressin' and sweet pertaters,
A couple of yer famous punkin pies and serve some fresh termaters!"
"I reckon I'd better close this letter 'cause its a-gittin' purty late.
Pray fer me, Hannah! I'll leave ever'thing in God's hands as to my fate!
Hug and kiss the children fer me tonight as you tuck them in their bed.
I'll see you soon, dear one. 'Til then, I remain your lovin' husband, Jed."
Alas, the Scythe of Death reaped Jed's soul upon that ghastly field of strife.
The hopes expressed in his poignant letter would ne'er be shared with his wife..
It was found in his tunic pocket as he was lowered in his hallowed grave,
As his comrades honored him for his service and the life he freely gave.
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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