Gone For A Soldier by Marsha Ward
Rulon Owen loves two things more than
life---his country and Mary Hilbrands.
And just to give you a taste:
When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it home to his wife and the son he's never seen.
Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness
and the unknown future ahead.
Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue.
Rulon saw the bend in the road ahead where lay the turnoff
to a lane that he could find on the darkest of nights. At the end of the lane,
his family would be going about their daily tasks, perhaps thinking about him,
perhaps not. He cleared the bend in the road and reined the horse into the wide
path. He had to be quick. Harrisonburg wasn’t far away, as the crow flies, but
he would need most of the time left of the day to make the trip on horseback.
Julianna saw him first when she turned from feeding the
hogs. “Rulon!” his younger sister shouted, then dropped her pails and ran
toward him, braids flying, spindly legs showing beneath her swirling skirt,
skinny arms outstretched to him.
He dismounted before she reached him and caught her in his
arms, noting the tears streaking her face.
“Why are you goin’ to fight?” The anxiety in her voice
caused it to come out high and thin, and he hugged her tighter than before.
“Our country needs me,” he answered, muffling his answer
against her sunbonnet.
“What if you die?” she wailed.
He couldn’t reply. When he raised his head to take a last
look around the place, Ma was there with Marie beside her, their grave faces
bringing a lump to his already tight throat.
Then Albert, the mischievous scamp, came running down the
lane, with Pa and the rest of the boys walking behind him. Ben was the only one
missing. They had made their farewells in town.
He had to hug them all, even Pa. Then Ma began a prayer, and
they quit their hats, joined hands right there in the lane, and listened to her
heartfelt plea for a short war and safety for the troops.
As Ma spoke the “amen” and the family joined in,
Rulon was reminded that he hadn’t left Mary with a prayer. Mayhap he should
have, instead of bedding her one last time. Devotion to God should be in their
marriage, as it was in his parents’ union, he reminded himself. As he climbed on
the horse, he pledged that he would be a better husband when he got the chance.
If I get the chance.