I love/hate the American Civil War. The stories are fascinating, like something out of an epic movie. It was an important event in our history I know, but I really hate war of any kind. My husband and I took a road trip to Shiloh Battlefield in west Tennessee. The word “shiloh” is a Hebrew word that can be roughly translated as “the peaceful one” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shiloh). We both grew up in Tennessee but neither of us had ever been there. I remember walking through the park, and coming to the mass grave that was edged in cannon balls. I stood there silent. I had never felt in my heart such pain and suffering. I don’t remember how many soldiers lost their lives that bloody day, all I know is that so many families were changed forever. It was an eerie, sad, uncomfortable feeling.
I found out several years ago that my great, great grandfather, William McIntyre, and his brother John, were Confederate soldiers. They joined the army when they were 13 and 15 years old! Long story short, they were sent off to Manassas, Virignia, and by some miracle, their unit did not make it there. Manassas was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. I did further research and found that their father, James C. McIntyre, at the age of 45, was also in the Confederate Army and was captured. He spent a year as a prisoner of war. He was discharged from the Confederate Army and “joined” the United States Army. His records, found on a great website, http://www.fold3.com, stated that he “don’t care which side wins.” He went home and so did two sons. One other son, Henry, was killed in the battle of Chancellorsville.
I do not want to imagine how my great, great grandmother felt. I do not want to imagine how any mother felt. I do not want to imagine how many mothers feel, now or ever. Shiloh Screams, silent screams, the world screams.