That night, when the fighting was over, Jacksland spread his bedroll upon the soft grass on that high spot overlooking the river. Union ironclads, moored just offshore, resembled squat drum cans set atop big sheets of metal under the stars. The masts of man-of-wars looked like tall trees. The men around Jacksland felt the expectation and terror of the day wear away into a bone tiredness from which Lance felt impossible to awake. He thought about his wife and daughter in New York. He thought about milking cows in a cold barn, the plume of his breath, the smell of manure and dry hay, remembered the deep white snow spread across rolling fields in January and the way the north winds swept down from Canada to pile high drifts along the glacier-stone-fence-rows. Lance remembered the way the Hudson River always froze solid this time of year.
The Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear, in cooperation with alternative publication encore, holds an annual short fiction contest. L.E. (Roy) Dieffenbach is the 2011 winner.