The Black Flower
Essay title: The Black Flower
“The Black Flower”
Bushrod Carter, a member of the Cumberland Rifles in the Army of Tennessee, along with his friends Virgil C. Johnson and Jack Bishop went through trials and tribulations and endured many fears as they were on the front line of the battle in the Battle of Franklin. He and his friends spent countless hours together sharing their thoughts and fears. They often wondered why they were there, but they kept on fighting, because of their pride and courage. They were compelled in their minds to do the right thing. However, Bushrod never expected people who he knew to die- only strangers. This would be a fear that would unexpectedly disturb Bushrod very soon and change his life forever.
Bushrod was of good character. He was a person who often daydreamt. Once he was so hungry, as were the other officers, that he drifted to sleep while standing and dreamt of ham and hoecakes. He also talked to himself quite often. He found his thoughts flowing through his mind and many questions unanswered. In the battle ahead, he thought, how could a total stranger want to kill him and “rob him of all that GOD himself had promised”? His friend, Jack Bishop of whom he’d known for twenty-six years even knew what was to come. “It don’t take Napoleon to see we fixin’ to get our ass in a fight.” However, whole heartily when the time came, they both would serve in the call of duty and follow with the other soldiers. One evening, Bushrod wrote in his journal one line that read “Act well your part; there all the honor lies.”
This best describes Bushrod’s valor.
Once in the field, Bushrod Carter looked around and what he saw “filled him with wonder and dread”. The infantry was walking across the open field, bands were playing and bayonettes were “gleaming in the sun”. Seeing the army ready for fighting drove the fear from his mind. He felt that this was a moment that would never happened again. He knew his life would now forever be compared to the present and his friend, Jack, knew it too. “Mankind”, Jacks said, “Look at that would you? If that don’t make the cheese-eaters run, then I’m your granny.” “They won’t run”, Bushrod said. Then Virgil C. gave his comment. “Hell, it’s all I can do to keep from runnin’ now.”
A make shift Hospital was needed, so the McGavock’s large, brick house was chosen outside of Franklin. There lived the McGavock family along with their cousin, Anna Hereford. Together they would serve their country as well as nursemaids and cooks for the wounded and dying as a result of the battle ahead. Little did they know that they would see so much pain, death, and bloodshed in their own house.
The line made it near the house and at this time, Bushrod was helping a fellow officer, Nebo. He couldn’t determine if his gun was loaded or not, and Bushrod being the helpful person as usual was assisting him with his weapon. Later, the gun fired, and Virgil C. Johnson was killed instantly when the bullet went through his head. Nebo took off running. Bushrod had lost his first friend, someone he knew, not a stranger. Virgil C. had been known as the best fiddler in his life before the battle of Shiloh. He brought his fiddle with him along for comfort in the battles ahead. His unexpected death upset Bushrod.
It was December, 1864 and the clock ticked in the early morning hours at the McGavock house. The children were asleep upstairs and downstairs was shear mayhem.
There were injured and dying souls everywhere and they all wanted Anna to help them in some way. The halls of the home were “carpeted with the bodies of men; they lay nestled like spoons, they sat with their heads in their hands, even the attic stairs were crowded with dark, huddled shapes as if a flock of enormous birds had come to roost there.”
“Shut your mouths, all of you!” Anna shrieked. It was so much for her to comprehend. They pulled at her dress as she walked by and grabbed at her as a last hope of living and surviving. The wounded soldiers cried and screamed with pain and Anna could hear their cries loudly. It was almost more than she could bear.
Anna saw a soldier in the floor. He looked like a heap of filthy clothes in the floor and he had no shoes, for someone had stolen them from him. He was incredibly dirty and he had a bruised and bloody face. His finger had apparently been shot off. He was at her feet; another soul for her to help. It was Bushrod Carter. Bushrod could barely see her. He smelled the smoke from a cigar and got sick. He apologized to Anna. She got the surgeon to take a look at him. “Aw, that ain’t nothin,” said the surgeon. He pulled at Bushrod’s nose. The surgeon told Anna she needed to do something about his hand. Bushrod yelled with pain. “Well, don’t be cussin at me, sir,” said Anna.
Anna continued to care for Bushrod and