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Letters: A Revolutionary War Short Story

Hannah Steines-Wolfson, Staff Writer

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I sat on the front steps of our small, brick house. Then slowly breathed in the humid summer air. It was mid-July, and I was waiting for a letter home from my husband whom was off fighting in the war against the British.

He used to write me whenever he got the chance; I would often receive his letters twice a week. But, I hadn’t gotten a letter for three weeks and was starting to get worried.

Countless ‘what ifs’ clouded my mind, making it impossible to focus on anything else. I hadn’t been doing much of anything since his letters stopped coming. I couldn’t clean, I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t even sleep.

I sighed, brushing a lock of messy blonde hair out of my dark eyes. I glanced upwards at the sound of galloping horses and coach wheels pushing against the stone road – the mail coach.

I immediately shot up and ran to the men steering the horses.

“Is there anything for Abigail Miller?” I asked, heart and mind racing as my voice shook.

One of the men nodded and handed me a letter folded over twice and sealed with wax.

I frantically grabbed the letter from him, muttering my thanks and running into my small house to read it. I tore the wax seal off, fumbling to open the parchment.

My dearest, Abigail,’ it read, ‘I’m sorry that I haven’t been getting to you often. The Battle of Monmouth has taken quite the toll on us. Supplies are low; we lost nearly a thousand soldiers. Please don’t worry yourself over me too much. I’m fine; I will be fine. What’s important is that you’re well.

Sincerely,

Davis Miller’

I gently ran my hand down the parchment; down his messy handwriting. As relieved as I was to receive a letter, something seemed off. The writing didn’t look like his.

I immediately pulled out parchment and a quill, frantically scribbling back my response.

My dearest, Davis,’ I started, ‘I’m glad you are well. In all honesty, I am not. I’m worried sick about you. I cannot focus on anything. But, don’t focus on such trivial matters. As pleasant as it was to receive a letter from you after so long, I have a small query for you: why was the writing in your last letter so much different than it usually is? I hope this letter finds you in good health.

Sincerely,

Abigail Miller’

I put the letter on my desk, so I could give it to the mail coach to deliver to Davis. I sighed, leaning back in my chair. Though I had gotten a letter, something was wrong – I knew it – so very wrong.

A week later, I got a response to my last leader.

Miss Abigail Miller,’ it began, ‘I regret to inform you that the last letter you received was not from your husband, but a man in the military that was not too fond of him. He wanted to taunt you rather than give you the sad news. I’m deeply sorry, but Mr Davis Miller was killed during The Battle of Monmouth. We will send you his remains and his few possessions soon. Once again, I am sorry for your loss.

Sincerely,

George Washington

I could feel my heart shatter. It felt like I had been punched in the gut, kicked half to death, and left to die. I let the letter drop from my hands; I watched it land gently onto the floor. I slowly sunk down to my knees as what seemed like endless tears streamed down my cheeks.

I buried my face into my hands, creating puddles of tears in my palms.

All I had; all that mattered to me in this world – killed, gone. Nothing would ever be the same again. That much I knew. The next few weeks were a living Hell on Earth. I honestly thought the mental pain I felt would kill me.

I was tangled in the light sheets on the bed I used to share with Davis, thinking about all the times we had together before he went to war. Then, I remembered something he had told me long ago.

I was a cold winter day; Davis and I were cuddled together, trying to keep whatever heat we could make between us.

“Abigail?” he said out of nowhere.

“Hm?” I asked.

“I’ve been thinking, and…”

“And?”

“I’m…Well, I’m…Going to war against the British.”

“What? You can’t! What if you die? What if you’re hurt? We don’t have a lot of money; we can’t afford treatment-”

“Abigail,” he cut me off, “I know this seems hard and horrible, but I want to make America safe for you. For the family we’ll make once it’s all over.”

I stared at him, speechless.

“And, if I do die, please don’t be sad. I would’ve died with honor. I would’ve died knowing that you’re safe. So, promise me you’ll be strong?”

I started to cry. Tears flowed freely down my face. But, I knew there was no talking him out of this. That’s one of the things I had always loved about him – he was determined; there was no stopping him.

Remembering his worlds, I slowly got out of the mess of sheets that was my bed and stood up. I knew what I had to do.

I felt my way towards my closet and carefully took a ribbon out of one of my dressed. I used it to tie my hair into a ponytail.

Next, I went to the other side of my closet – the one that held my husbands things. I put on one of his old outfits – brown trousers, a white shirt, and a brown overcoat. I pulled of a pair of my husbands boots then headed to the door and flung it open.

I was no longer Abigail Miller, but Abraham Johnson. I left my house with one thought in my mind, “I will avenge my husband; I will fight the British; I will help push this country to glory.

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Letters: A Revolutionary War Short Story