Dearest Louisa: A Civil War Story // PROLOGUE

Outisde of Chickamauga, Georgia

Late May 1865

It was time. She got down on her hands and knees and reached under her bed, her hazel eyes searching the darkness underneath for the item on her mind. Her hand soon grasped a small wooden chest and she pulled it out and laid it on her lap, a mixture of sadness and longing coming over her as she ran a hand across the smooth wood. It had been quite a while since she had last opened it. In fact the last time had been only a year and a half ago, after the battle that had taken place near her home.

She shut her eyes against the tears building up in them. She could still bring up the images of the battle’s aftermath in her mind as clearly as the day it had happened, could still bring up the joyous moment of finding him, only for it to be soured by the field hospital—and him—being taken prisoner.

Opening her eyes, she swallowed back the lump in her throat and drew a key out of her apron pocket. With trembling hands she unlocked the chest and lifted the lid, revealing all the letters he had ever written to her—starting in the late summer of ’59, before the storm of war had come in and upended their lives and the lives of everyone else around them.

She moved the chest to the rough wooden floor and dug through the aged stack of papers until she had found the very first letter. A moment’s hesitation passed before she unfolded it, a small smile on her face as she read the words Dear Miss Gardiner…

©2023 H.S. Kylian (Hannah Killian). All rights reserved.

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