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Matt recalled bathing in a pond not far from the train station. He called out to his brother Logan: "Hey Broth, it might be better to stop here rather than at the station. We can finish off Ma’s basket of food and clean ourselves up a bit Rest our horses and let them graze a bit as well. You’ll have mine as well, remember.“ Logan just nodded his head. The horses were tired from the almost 20 hour trek they had just completed from the prairies of Savannah, Georgia.


It was late afternoon, a day after having celebrated their dad’s seventieth birthday. A day after having had to say their sad goodbyes to their parents and their only little sister Annabelle. A few of the servants joined the family in tearfully bidding them a good journey. A day of leaving the homefront under false pretenses, both twins did not know if they would live to return to their childhood home safe and sound. 


It was late afternoon and time to say their goodbyes to one another. Having relished in the setting sun, feeling recovered from their journey, sadness had crept into this last moment. They locked their gaze on one another; Logan had put on his grey Confederate uniform, completely filling it out, looking very much the extremely attractive soldier, blond and blue-eyed, whereas Matt had to keep his blue Union uniform well-hidden until he was clear of Confederate territory. Thus he was dressed in a black suit and tie, looking very much like a bank director who was going to travel to Illinois.


Logan pressed Matt, pressed his thumbs hard into Matt’s shoulders: „Are you sure? I know we’ve discussed this time and again, but I have to know. God, Matt, I sure as hell hope that you are – will be as far away from here as is really possible. I don’t want to imagine you as my enemy, even if, in black and white, you are!“ 


"I’m afraid, I am more sure of doing this my way, just as the cock crows at 5 am every morning, Logan." He ruffled his brother’s hair and cuffed him playfully on the side of his face. "We know it hasn’t been an easy decision for either of us, but this has kept me awake many a night, Logan, I have to follow this path. I believe in the abolitionist’s cause, contrary to you and our family. Thank you for not adding to our folks’ worries." 


Matt and Logan both had tears in their eyes, gave each other a hefty bear hug, wished each other well and God speed in their individual fights, yet to come. They had agreed that Matt would travel to the station alone and jump on the first train to carry him out of confederate territory and deliver him into union territory. His next destination would be military headquarters in Springfield, Illinois where he’d be joining Camp Butler for training. 


Logan, on the other hand, would wait a bit before following Matt’s tracks. He’d collect Matt’s horse as they had previously arranged, take it to a stable where their 'boy Nathan' would collect both horses on his next trip to the market here, leaving Logan to travel to his military headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. 


Back at home in the Weatherby household several days later, the parents, Corallee and Archibald, are discussing what a fine celebration they had had. This included Annabelle, all ears as she ate her dish of plum pudding. "Corallee, we have such fine boys, I’m missing them already, and it’s not even a week since their departure. Imagine them both coming home with a medal or two." 


Twenty-year-old Annabelle quizzes her Pa, "Oh, Pa, isn’t it dangerous going to war? I can’t believe you’re not worried about them. Ma, say something! When can we expect them to come home again? Who’s going to manage their chores? Me? Well, I guess Leo and I will be able to manage with the help of Sammi. Then again, that’ll mean that you, Ma, will have to work with Sadie here in the house. I cannot do everything, can I?"


Annabelle continues to lament over the present situation. Her fiancé had been deployed three weeks ago. She had had no more news from him, and had no idea as to where he was sent to. Ma, consoles her, "Annabelle, my dear, you know we’ll manage. You also know that Pa is worried, but let him dream a bit now. Let’s try and stand together, stay positive, please. Jefferson Davis is calling for the southern states to secede. We’ll need to wait and see what will happen."


Logan was born ten minutes before Matt, thus, he as first-born was considered to be responsible for his younger brother. Logan enjoyed his life as next-in-line slave-holder. He dealt fairly with his family’s slaves. Their farmland encompassed more than a thousand acres upon which they grew cotton, raised cattle, and bred horses. They had 20 slaves to help them run it. Their farm was now running into its third era of existence. 

In town, Logan, known for his integrity and being an all around Southern gentleman, was still loose and fancy-free. Many a mother sought to couple him with an available daughter. Until now, Logan had no desire to settle down as his Ma and Pa would love to see. He enjoyed his life following in his Pa's footsteps. He believed the time would come when he'd take the final step, marry the girl of his dreams and have children, but right now, there was no time for it.


Matt, the second-born, took on life as it came to him; a carefree-going young man, who envisaged a life beyond the farm and the slaves. He fought to control himself; he loved keeping company with the slaves, working the fields with them, learning their songs and falling in love with one particular young lady, Sadie, who helped in the house and kitchen duties. He had been reprimanded more than he wished for, even had tiffs with Logan about his behavior. Matt was also known for his integrity; also a ’catch’ in the eyes of Southern mothers for their daughters, but Matt was pragmatic where Logan wasn’t. Matt was destined to go north.


The twins had learnt from an early age to respect one another as well as their elders, and the law. It had now come to an impassé soon after Matt had heard about Rhode Island setting slaves free, actually abandoning slavery all together. There had been strong convictions voiced at mealtimes. A few skirmishes with a few of their slaves, Matt bore with pain. At times he tried to convince his Pa of letting their slaves have a choice of freedom; however, Pa had no open ear for these conversations. So the boys discussed their feelings with each other, accepted each other’s convictions, and came to the conclusion not to tell anyone about their political choices. They could only hope and pray that they both would come home safe and sound, no matter what the final outcome would be.


It was a brief war for the two of them. Sadly, neither made it back home. The family received their papers and status of bravery, albeit one from each side, a Confederate soldier and a Union one. Pa, completely taken by surprise at Matt’s standpoint, chose to be proud of both of his sons. With two different medals, the twins’ pictures were placed on the mantelpiece for all to remember them by. 


June 05, 2020 20:40

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Tiana Gabel
09:40 Jun 12, 2020

I liked the story a lot. Usually, we hear about the tension between siblings with opposing views, but it was nice to show the more secretly supportive side of this.


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