This is a work of Short Fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in this short story are entirely fictional and are of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or organizations or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
“Like my father before me
I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel stand…”
(From The Night they Drove ole’ Dixie Down)
Bethel, Georgia – 1866
It was just past eight in the morning and Reverend Henry Callahan Sr. sat on his front porch with his nine year old grandson, Nathaniel (or ‘Natty’) taking his breakfast and Henry his morning coffee. As was the usual routine this time of day, Union troops garrisoned just outside of town could be heard marching up and down the main road, the sound of their boots stomping in cadence a daily reminder that so-called “Reconstruction” was just another euphemism for more federal tyranny. As Henry sipped his coffee he glanced over at his grandson, who was a spitting image of his only son, the late Captain Henry Callahan Jr., 5th Georgia Cavalry, CSA, who fell at Gettysburg three years prior.
“Pa-paw when will the Yankees leave?” Nathaniel asked with a furrowed brow looking out at the main road.
Reverend Callahan smiled at the look on his grandson’s face.
“God willing it will be soon, Natty.” The Reverend replied with a wink.
“That would be nice!” Nathaniel replied smiling, taking a bite of bacon.
“Well then let’s both ask the Good Lord for that to happen, shall we?” Henry Sr. replied as he closed his eyes and reverently folded his hands together in prayer
Immediately Nathaniel followed suit and without missing a beat begin to petition God as only a child could:
“Dear Jesus, me and my pa-paw are thankful for all your many blessings but we have been asking for you to get these Yankees out of Georgia for a while now and nothing has happened. Please Lord! Take these Yankees back to where they came from so they will leave us all in peace! In Jesus’ Mighty Name we Pray, Amen.”
“How was that prayer pa-paw?” Nathaniel asked, smiling.
“One of your best yet!” Henry Sr. replied with another wink and smile, his heart bursting in his chest.
When Nathaniel’s mother had died of scarlet fever two years ago most everybody in the family urged the Reverend, who had lost his own wife to illness over a decade ago, to send the boy off to the mother’s relatives in Tennessee but the Reverend would not hear of it. No, family needed to stick together. Besides, Henry knew his son would much rather have him raise the boy than some in-laws whom he had only met once at the wedding over seven years ago.
“Hurry up and finish your breakfast Natty or you’ll be late for school!” Henry Sr. gently chided his grandson.
Nathaniel nodded and shoved the last of his scrambled eggs down his gullet.
The buggy ride to school typically took less than ten minutes with the Reverend always taking care to avoid Yankee patrols. But today was different, for some reason the Yankees were really making a show of themselves. As they rounded the corner into town four yankee soldiers stood in the road with rifles crossed.
“What’s your business in town?” A big Yankee Sergeant with a walrus mustache asked, almost knocking Henry Sr. down with the smell of corn mash liquor on his breath.
“Taking my grandson to school like I do every day at this time.” The Reverend replied with obvious agitation in his voice.
The Yankee stared at Henry for a long moment, his bloodshot eyes itching for a fight.
“Sergeant! What’s going on here? Why are these people being detained?” A young Yankee Captain asked riding up on a well groomed white gelding.
The half-drunk Sergeant and his three underlings all quickly popped to attention.
“Routine inspection for contraband sir!” The sergeant replied.
The Yankee Captain quickly dismounted and approached the buggy.
“Routine inspection for contraband of a buggy with a Reverend and a school age child?” The Captain asked, looking at the Sergeant like he had mush for brains.
The sergeant’s face turned beet red with embarrassment.
“I apologize for this inconvenience Reverend Callahan, you are free to go.” The Captain said waving the buggy forward.
The Reverend tipped his hat and gave the horse a gentle reign. After they had went a fair piece down the road Henry Sr. glanced at Nathaniel out of the corner of his eye and could see his grandson thinking intently about what had just happened and ever so quietly Reverend Callahan said another prayer for the yankee plague to be swept away by the mighty hand of God.
Near Bertram, Texas – 2026
From his elevated perch on top of a Burnet county water tower, Captain Logan Callahan of the Texas Brigade Militia carefully watched a high resolution tablet screen as he controlled a small “Mosquito” drone equipped with two 1080p video cameras as it hovered three-hundred feet above as a UNF supply convoy consisting of six, five-ton 6×6 military transport trucks as they rumbled down a small blacktop county road half-a-mile away.
“Two minute’s from the T-junction.” Logan announced over the radio.
A quarter of a mile away at the T-junction three squads of heavily armed Texas Brigade militia men patiently waited, one of them with a cheap cell phone with a saved number in the contacts under the not so subtle title of “BOOM.”
Meanwhile, four miles away three Texas Brigade requisitioned U-Haul panel trucks were already making their way to the ambush site to make the pickup of men and supplies.
As the lead 6×6 UNF truck slowed to make a left hand turn at the T junction the militia man with the cell phone began counting.
“One mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi…”
When he got to five he mashed the green call button on the cell phone to dial the “BOOM” contact which sent the signal to the detonating device on the homemade IED which had been placed in the drainage tunnel underneath the road at the T junction. The timing was perfect. Just as the lead vehicle was in the middle of his left turn the road underneath the truck exploded in a massive fountain of asphalt, dirt and metal sending the truck airborne like a plastic toy. When the truck finally landed on it’s side, it created a massive five ton roadblock, just as it had been planned. Immediately the rear squad of riflemen went to work on the last truck, pelting it with rifle fire, killing the driver and three man security detachment dead and creating yet another five ton roadblock. The remaining trucks in the middle were trapped and had nowhere to go and nothing to do except die as their cabs were pelted with unrelenting rifle fire. It was all over in under two and a half minutes.
Logan watched all the action unfold on his display as he slowly circled the drone at one hundred and fifty feet above terra firma. Right on time the Texas Brigade trucks pulled up and the men began loading up the supplies. Ammunition, small arms, grenades, rocket launchers, explosives, rations, fresh water and medical supplies. It was the mother lode for a guerilla army and it was sorely needed. As Logan landed the drone and prepared to hike down to the ambush site he quickly sent the captured video of the ambush to his team of online trolls. Thirty years ago, before the internet and social media, large armies would never admit small bands of guerilla fighters would be capable of ambushing a supply convoy. Instead they would lie and say there had been a terrible traffic accident and only a “few trucks” had been lost. Now in the digital age of 4GW they could not hide behind that lie. The truth was being beamed out on millions of cell phone and laptop screens in full 1080p resolution. Of course from now on UNF supply convoys would have better beefed up security, most likely some kind of armed air support, but that was the price you paid when fighting a guerilla war. One thing was for certain though: Slowly but surely the UNF facade of invincibility was being worn down. A savage war of attrition was being fought and for the first time since the conflict began over a year ago, public opinion and empathy was leaning toward the Texas Brigade. Texas and its Confederacy of Southern state allies would be successful in seceding from what was left of the Former United States of America and its United Nation Globalist taskmasters.
That night as Logan returned to the barracks he fell into his bunk like a dead man and tried to close his eyes, but as was always the case after an operation, he couldn’t sleep. He reached down underneath his bunk and came up with a novel, an old western written over thirty years ago by John Carlos Blake called In the Rogue Blood. Inside the book were two laminated pictures of his distant Confederate relatives. One was of Henry Callahan Jr., 5th Georgia Cavalry, taken in 1862. He was pictured on a stunning white horse in his dress gray uniform. The other taken in 1876 was of his son and on the back was written “Nathaniel Callahan, 19 years old, Georgia State Militia.” As Logan studied the photograph intently he remembered his late Grandpa’s stories about “Natty”, who was a kind of folk hero within the family.
“Daddy always said that Natty was a true Southern Loyalist and although some folks called him an “outlaw” daddy never saw it that way. Natty only stole from Yankee banks and railroads, never from good southern white folk and I have it on good authority he took a lion’s share of the stolen loot and gave it to struggling Southern businessmen so they could get on their feet without having to rely on the thieving Yankee usury. That my friend is why Nathaniel Callahan died of old age and not with a noose around his neck.”
Twelve miles Outside Macon, Georgia – 1876
While his three other partners got control of the locomotive and the passenger car, Natty climbed up on the caboose and began searching for the conductor. It didn’t take long. He found him cowering behind three sacks of mail whimpering like a child. Natty shook his head in disbelief at the man and then motioned with the barrel of his Colt for him to lead the way to the strong boxes in the mail car. Once they were inside Natty handed the conductor a feed sack.
“Fill it up and don’t stall on the combinations. You don’t wanna test me Mr. Hamilton, I assure you.”
The conductor shot a worried glance up at the masked bandit that he knew his name and immediately got to work. Within thirty-seconds he was filling the sack up with stacks of thousand dollar bundles. Natty counted thirty bundles before the conductor moved on to the next safe. It took just under four minutes to empty the two remaining safes. When he was done Natty casually rared back and whacked the conductor upside the head with the barrel of his Colt, splitting his scalp at the hairline and bringing a large trickle of blood from his head.
“Shit fire! Why in the hell did you do that! You got the damn money!” The conductor yelled angrily, grabbing his head.
“No hard feelings Mr. Hamilton but now you got an alibi that you did not cooperate with us!” Natty winked and stuffed a hundred dollar bill in the conductor’s front shirt pocket before jumping down from the mail car. Confounded as to what to do next, the conductor stood there with his head bleeding and his mouth wide open in amazement as the four masked outlaws rode off into the dark Georgia woods hooping and hollering like wild indians with just over sixty-thousand dollars in cash in their poke.
Texas Brigade Militia Forward Operating Base Near La Porte, Texas – 2027
Captain Logan Callahan sat in the Command Post sipping twice brewed black coffee giving his After Action Report (AAR) to his CO and his staff. Earlier that morning, while leading a dawn patrol with an under strength platoon Logan had ran into an element of UNF infantry supported by a LAV-26, a six wheeled light armored recon vehicle with a 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun.
“Looked to me like they were probing along our right flank here.” Logan pointed at a position on the map.
Out of sixty-seven men he had lost five before they could get a SMAW (A Shoulder Fired Rocket Launcher) into the fight to take out the LAV. It was a costly lesson that all units needed to have Anti-Tank capabilities from here on out. The UNF were throwing everything but their toenails into this push, including mechanized units and armor. After almost two years of brutal fighting the Brigade along with their nine Confederate State allies had taken back all of the major Texas cities except Houston. Houston was the crown jewel that the UNF did not want to let go of, mainly because of the oil refineries and the strategic importance of a naval port.
“Tomorrow morning I want you to take the entire reinforced second battalion: Able, Bravo and Charlie Companies, seven hundred men total and push up the right side of this canal. I will have First Battalion on your left flank with what is left of Third in reserve. We need to hit their forces hard before they get organized. Do not let them breathe Callahan! Constant pressure is key! Make sure and utilize your explosive drones and mortars on the attack. I have gathered all the anti-tank weapons we have and given them to the Second Battalion. Any questions?” Lt. Colonel Brian Potterfield asked Logan.
Logan stared at the map for a long moment.
“Not at the moment sir.” Logan replied.
“Good. Oh there’s one more thing I almost forgot.”
“Sir?” Logan replied
“You might be needing these from here on out.”
With that the Lt. Colonel pulled out a pair of Gold Oak Leaves.
“Congratulations Major Callahan.” Potterfield said with a smile.
As the Colonel removed the silver bars and replaced them with the gold oak leaves in a bright flash, as if some hidden sound proof door had been opened and a flash bang grenade thrown in, Logan’s senses were assaulted all at once. A cavalry trumpet blasted in his ears, the smell of burnt cordite and gun smoke floated heavy up into his nostrils. He saw a dozen Confederate soldiers with rifles run by followed by cavalrymen, the horses thundering by in unison. As Logan was trying to interpret all of this, suddenly a man appeared on a lean white stallion. A man Logan recognized immediately as his relative, Captain Henry Callahan Jr., 5th Georgia Cavalry, CSA. The sound of yankee cannon fire echoed around him but yet he and his mount remained calm.
“I ain’t gonna lie to you, this is gonna be a rough one cousin, but you’ll see your way through it.” Captain Callahan said in his strong Gerogia drawl as he spat tobacco juice, his horse gently shaking its head at the sound of the distant cannons.
Logan wanted to speak but he couldn’t, it was like he was in a dream and couldn’t move or talk.
“You won’t believe this but you will be talked and wrote about for the next twenty years by the same children you just fought to save, ain’t that somethin’!” Captain Callahan smiled, shaking his head.
After a few moments the smile faded from his face and a look of serious consternation replaced it.
“So go on and get to it Major…them Yankee’s ain’t gonna kill themselves you know.”
And with that the soundproofed door closed and Major Logan Callahan found himself seated in a Forward Command Post surrounded by monitors and computer equipment with dozens of support personnel buzzing like busy wasp around him.
“Major Callahan Sir? Are you O.K.?” a young Captain named Jackson asked standing behind him.
It took a few seconds for Logan to get his bearings.
“Yes, I’m fine. What’s happening?” Logan replied looking up at the screens in front of him.
“The entire assault force is waiting on your GO WORD sir.” Captain Jackson replied.
Logan took a deep breath and glanced up at the status screen showing the position of the Second and First Battalions in relation to the canal. Logan stared at the enemy positions marked with a red X across from the canal. Damn, there were so many of them! Then suddenly his cousin’s words echoed again in his ear and Logan smiled as he shouted into his headset.
“All Unit’s GO!”