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Leaving

by Alyssa Liljequist, age 16
(Oregon)

Rebecca: I beg you, do not go. I fear for your life!

Edward: I don't mean to cause you worry, little sister, but I must fight to keep the Union together and abolish slavery. In early May, President Lincoln called for 42,000 volunteers for three years but I was not ready at that time. Now, in July, the president has issued a call for 500,000 men and I am proud to be one of them.

Rebecca: Why now?

Edward: I was not sure that war was the necessary and wise course of action. However, slave states have continued to secede and I no longer believe there can be a peaceful resolution.

Rebecca: I shall miss you dearly and you shall be in my prayers every day.

Edward: You all shall be in my prayers as well. I fear this war will touch everyone's lives, not merely soldiers.

Rebecca: I am certain you are right. Already, we have heard reports of food shortages in the South. I am thankful we have not had that struggle here yet. I believe this is because we are better and stronger than them.

Edward: I firmly believe that our cause is the right one. Nevertheless, pride is not the answer.

Rebecca: I am sorry. I spoke in haste.

Edward: I understand. I only wish to caution you against haughtiness. That has led to this army's downfall in more than one battle. We are not necessarily 'better' than them. Our side suffered a humiliating defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.

Rebecca: It was a tragic and discouraging loss of life. I do worry for your safety.

Edward: I am as prepared as I can be. I am fairly skilled in rifle usage. I have gone hunting with Papa multiple times. My haversack is packed. I am ready.

Rebecca: May God keep you safe and bring a swift victory for the Union!

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