Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Holding Richmond (Excerpt)

August 29th - 30th 1862, Richmond, Kentucky, the day the tide was turned..

Sitting alone in his tent, Major-General William ‘Bull’ Nelson surveyed the battlefield below from his viewpoint on the surrounding hills Nelson could see all that was happening.
Having taken over from the wounded Mahlon Dickerson Manson, with troops fighting themselves to a standstill neither side having a tactical or numerical advantage. Nelsons’ command looked tenuous at best. His orders were plain enough <font;_bold>"Hold Richmond at al costs."</font>

"Mahlon, how we can we hold this position?" he asked the former commander. "Damn those Yankee sharpshooters, picking us off at will. We daren’t move out and yet here we are trapped and getting picked off. They cut the supplies, the men are dropping with hunger and thirst in this heat."

Mahlon looked at the man who was replacing him. The large form blocking the tent flaps.
"Grant's" orders are clear Bull, hold Richmond, he did not say how!"

"Sure! They are getting supplied as we starve and run out of ammunition. Sooner or later we will be overrun."

"This is not the Bull Nelson, everyone fears."

"Usually I can see a way forward and rush to take the advantage. Here it is stalemate or a slow death!"

At the edge of his vision Nelson saw a dark shadowy figure, ashen complexion thin body with spindly fingers and long thick nails twisted and gnarled.

"Did you see that Mahlon?" Bull asked.

"Sure I did, Bull. Been seeing him and his like all day around the bodies, taking a sip from their necks, just don’t know what in the name of God they are."

"Damn well gives me the creeps it did there."

"Can we hold the town Bull, so can outlast those Yankees?"

"Reckon we can, Mahlon."

The grey figured approached the 2 men and said "I am afraid, you are both wrong gentlemen."

"And just who are you, and how the blazes do you know that."

"Although of no importance my name is Nosferatu. For how I know we have many names, but all cultures know of us, some call us vampire, others the undead. But all know we are timeless and I have travelled back from your future to this day."

"Saying we believe you, which we don’t," Bull said. "How can you help turn this stalemate?"

"Before I tell you. There is a price and you might not like it.So before I tell you my plans, I will tell you what will happen if you don’t accept."

"This ought to be a darn good tale," Mahlon chided."Coming from the future to tell us what will happen now, next thing he will say is we will lose this battle."

"Exactly, my friend, that is what will happen."

"And just how is that going to happen, both sides are matched equally, so nobody has a larger army to move?" Bull remarked

"You may hold the town, but you are cut off. With your back to the river, this is a very good defensive position. But you are still trapped," the grey figure pointed out.

"Got ya there Bull." Mahlon commented.

"So how are we going to lose when we have armies the same size?" Bull chided the strange and eerie figure.

"As you said, they are picking you off like rats in a barrel. You cannot go and take them on, tomorrow they will launch an early artillery attack. Follow that with a charge on your right flank."

"Sounds a good Yankee ploy that, Mahlon."Bull remarked.

"And then what?" Bull queried.

"Being harassed, you will mount a charge through the cemetery. Get held back and then pushed back to Rogersville, where your troops will get captured."

"<font;_bold>NEVER</font>!"shouted Bull Nelson. "My fine troops in their hands, don’t know who the hell you are but sound like a bleep Yank to me."

The grey figure bent low over the men, stooping its long thin, spindly back it said "No, I am for neither side, but you  MUST  have my help or this night will be remembered for the wrong reasons, for your side."

"Oh. I MUST  have your help!" Nelson screamed at this abomination. "and why is that?"

"If you don’t this night will be remembered for all times, as the night that Richmond fell."

"Bull, you know what this means don’t you?" Mahlon shivered at the thought, despite the oppressive heat in the tent.

"Yup, if we fall the way is open for Lexington and Frankfort. Our troops cut to pieces and separated from supply lines, we will lose the whole flank, if we fail. Still don’t believe a damn word this thing says, Mahlon." Bull commented to his fellow officer.

"You don’t have to. Look around you at your men, weak with hunger, lacking energy, soon you will be forced to try and break free, and then…"

"Yes, you said, Richmond, then Lexington and Frankfort will fall quickly as the Yanks march through. Just need time to think." Bull Nelson said.

"That ain’t you Bull, you got a reputation for charging right in." Mahlon queried.

"True, but this is different those are battles. Here we are talking of the whole of this Union flank being torn apart, towns we love being handed over."

The creature looked at Bull Nelson, and said with a voice full of loathing "Time unfortunately is the one thing you do not have. As the sunsets, so does your chance of turning the day ahead. You must decide now."

Standing there bent over with long fingers and dark nails, shrouded in grey, skin the colours of dried parchment, the sight of the creature was enough to chill the blood of any mortal soul.

"You say, if I refuse your offer we lose here. Lexington and Frankfort will fall and this will be known as the night that Richmond fell."

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