In Progress

Federal soldiers, Gettysburg, PA - Photographer: Timothy H. O'Sullivan

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Christian artist Vicki Talley McCollum has partnered with author Michael Aubrecht for the fictional tale, Battlefield Believers. Vicki is blessed with an amazing talent in a variety of different mediums. She will be providing pen and ink illustrations for this wide-format book, which will be published as a joint venture. PDF preview

Battlefield Believers - working title DRAFT
Format: Christian-Historical-Fiction
By Michael Aubrecht - Copyright 2005

It was early on Sunday, in the spring of 1864, and all around were signs of God's glorious Creation. Daybreak had just begun, and the sun was slowly peeking over the horizon. As it ascended, the vast landscape of sleeping clouds appeared to catch fire and the midnight blue evening was painted over by a brilliant orange glow. A gentle breeze stirred the miles of tall grass covering the fields beneath and a symphony of birds softly echoed through the trees.

On the surrounding hills, shadows awoke from their twilight slumber and began to stretch their limbs in acknowledgment of the recurring day. It was a beautiful recital that had been performed over and over since the beginning of time. It was the sort of day that made you feel good just to be alive - and even better to be dead.

Below in the valley, two armies were also just beginning to stir. Many soldiers however, did not share nature's sentiments in welcoming back another sunrise. Exhausted, homesick and terribly traumatized by the horrors they had witnessed on the battlefield, the promise of another day was nothing more than prolonged suffering. After all, weeks had turned into months, months had turned into years, and no end appeared in sight. Many felt as if they had been on campaign forever. Most were only been able to find a sense of peace and comfort while sleeping. That is, when they actually could sleep.

Enlisting under the guise of heroism, few had ever expected to be away from their families this long and none could have predicted the hardships they would experience. Although they were thankful for their lives, many looked upon their fallen comrades with a sense of envy as they were finally at rest in a much better place. For these reluctant survivors, time appeared to stand still.

Looking more dead than alive, they were now faded memories of the vibrant men they had once been. Long gone was the patriotism and thrill of recruitment parades and brand new uniforms. No longer were they believers in the promise of adventure or the romance of war. For those who had gone off to serve, the only truth that remained was "to kill or be killed."

Emerging from their weathered tents, some struck fires as the smell of stale coffee began to permeate the air. The gentle sounds of the surrounding countryside gave way to the neighing of irritated horses and the clang of metal. As they began their daily rituals, muskets were inspected, swords were sheathed and once pristine jackets were pulled on over dirty white shirts and tattered suspenders.

On a high hill overlooking it all, stood a small grove of trees whose leaves were still dripping wet with the morning dew. Beneath them sat two figures quietly watching. They were soldiers too, angels who had served in the legions under the command of the Archangel Michael during the fall of Satan. Theirs was a story written before the dawn of man.

Recorded in the Bible, angels were formed long before the Creation and served in a variety of roles while executing God's will. The most powerful of these creatures was named Lucifer and he was honored above all other angels while sitting second only to Christ. His superiority proved to be his downfall after pride and jealousy led him to seek God's throne.

When God rejected him, he led other angels in a revolt for the Kingdom of Heaven. It was then that a great battle erupted between legions of good and bad angels. God's army emerged victorious, but at a great cost to their numbers.

After his defeat, Lucifer fell from God's grace and became known as Satan or the Devil. His sin also cost the eternities of thousands of angels, who became demons forever because of their choice to rebel. Those that remained loyal to the Lord, continued to serve His glory and sometimes traveled to Earth executing missions for the benefit of mankind.

These two observers stood among the ranks of God's loyal servants and as veterans of their own Civil War, each had grown to feel a kinship toward the armies they watched below. Both shared in the sadness of knowing that for most of these men, this would be their last sunrise.

One angel, named Jonas, was a strong, athletic looking creature with long dark hair. The other was named Elias, who appeared identical to his companion with the exception of blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Following their victory in Heaven, both were given the assignment of observing the wartime behaviors of man. Since then, they had witnessed countless battles and the victories and defeats of thousands.

Although uniforms and weapons had changed through the centuries, the results were always the same and both angels struggled to find a purpose in their mission. Today they were continuing their study in hopes of finally completing the task and moving on to their own eternities. This was the American Civil War and one of the worst they had ever seen.

As morning peaked, the angels detected movement in the camps below. Each sprang to attention, eager to conclude the day's events. Suffering their own form of boredom and anxiety, Jonas and Elias had spent the night secluded in the hilltop orchard, hiding from the guards.

Over the last three years, they had watched as the South repelled their foe brilliantly, only to have the North persevere on their own ground. Both had sat on the bluffs overlooking the battlefields at Manassas, and Antietam. They had perched themselves on the stonewall at the sunken road in Fredericksburg and on a split-rail fence during Pickett's disastrous charge at Gettysburg. They had witnessed firsthand the bloody magnificence of bayonet charges and the stench of rotting bodies that later littered the battlefields. Regardless of the cost, neither force was willing to surrender, thus the war continued to drag on and on.

End of preview




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