The War on Two Fronts

Stephen Cho, guest writer


The Fall of 1862 was anything but a somber, calm time in Wisconsin.  Civil war raged on, and carnage and atrocities began to spread throughout every region in North America.  Wilson Fisher was stuck sitting in a bar of sorts with a name he couldn’t pronounce.  Browsing through the many letters received, one caught his glance.

Mr. Wilson Fisher,

The war rages on , and as a result, so do the multitudes of recruits needed to fight it.  The Union and I both have found your recollected service nothing less than impressive, and if you feel the obligation to uphold my offer to rejoin Union ranks, meet me at the Blind Horse Dining House.


Ulysses  S. Grant

Mostly uninterested after reading the document, there stood  a man, short compared to himself, staring at him in angry confusion.

“That’s my seat, son,” he hissed.  “Don’t cause any commotion, so I’d say you beat it.”

Wilson ignored him and continued thinking about General Grant’s offer and whether he would don his uniform once again years later at nearly forty years old.   In a huge, raging motion, the man attempted to lunge at  right pectoral area, but he parried it by sidestepping the attack.  Both men stood off against each other and the angry man Fisher named “Mad Brad” threw a right hook in an attempt to break his jaw.  Fisher rolled to the left, avoiding the uppercut, and let the anger build up inside his attacker.  Fisher observed  him charging in blinding rage, and almost effortlessly, caught Mad Brad with a leg sweep, sending him tumbling onto the floor hard.  Fisher got up, popped his collar, and proceeded out the door.

Unlike most ordinary men, Fisher never spent his day doing pointless chores for wives or taking children to school and extracurricular activities.  Instead, he was always exploring and observing his surroundings since he was always adrift from state to state.  Once in New York, he lived next to a man who always seemed to be targeted, and helped him escape from protestors and rioters from time to time.  He had explained to Fisher that many tried to get revenge due to the con artist path his father had taken. Fisher could never remember his name, but he had read in a New York newspaper that the man had become a wildly famous oil producer, and was a rising star in the business world.  His personal favorite Provost instructor, Major John Garber, always told him, ” the second you lose count of life around you, its what’s gonna cost you your life.”  Garber had always liked Fisher straight out of West Point and had even written a three-star recommendation toward his Military Police career.  Most of what Fisher acted upon and decided was based off of what Garber constantly regurgitated onto him, and it had proved useful in many situations.

Sifting through the things in his mind, Fisher strolled through the crowd of people entering the bar he had just proceeded out of.  He remembered he had an appointment scheduled for his plumbing system at three p.m, but a ride home would take twenty minutes from where he was in town, so Fisher decided to stop by the General Store and grab some groceries for dinner.  He was never a sandwich guy, and today had moved rather slowly, so he had fixed his mind on preparing a sweet, succulent steak and cornbread a la carte.  He grabbed the ingredients, paid the cashier generously, and exited in a cold, calculated rhythm.

*        *        *

Even after three weeks since the first letter arrived, Grant was persistent, and Fisher was considering the possibility of reliving the days in the military.  After breakfast, Fisher packed a couple of pairs of each clothing set and his favorite and the best sidearm in his opinion, the LeMat revolver.  The distinguishing characteristic of LeMat’s revolver was that “its 9-shot cylinder revolved around a separate central barrel of larger caliber than the chambers in other guns. Thus, the central barrel functioned as a shotgunand was often referred ‘Grape Shot Revolver'”(Mizokami), because Fisher could select whether to “fire from the cylinder or the smooth-bore barrel by flipping a lever on the end of the hammer” (Mizokami).  This made the handgun both an accurate single fire machine and a wide-blow dispersed weapon, which had served Fisher well in his career. While recalling many memories from touching the LeMat, he closed his suitcase, put it in his trailer, and got on his horse.

*         *         *

“Glad you could make time out from your busy schedule,” Grant snorted jokingly.

“Your’re lucky I’m even considering your offer, Grant.”

“More lucky than not, but enough bickering; let us discuss the matter at hand.”  Grant slowly picked up some paperwork, which stated the re-inlistment of Wilson Alexander Fisher, and that his command was to be effective tomorrow, July 1, 1863. They shook hands with each other, and Fisher was introduced as the new commander of the Iron Brigade.  Fisher exited the white tent and immediately remembered the scent of the earthy, rich mountains of Tennessee and the delight he had when he was just a boy.  While engulfed in pleasant memories, he examined his quarters, put his belongings on his nightstand, and slept the best sleep he had experienced in years.

Fisher rose early as four AM and was familiarized and introduced to his new brigade.  They departed for a supply run to Chattanooga and were accompanied by the Army of Tennessee , which was way more than we needed, Fisher thought.  He marched with good time and reached Chattanooga where he and his men gathered ammunition and other medical supplies from locals of the area.  Grant ordered his next and final stop at Shiloh, and he preceded suit towards the point of extraction.  Although “General Grant failed to dig defensive trenches”(Digital) Fisher saw that as his new assignment, and got to work.  He reached Shiloh and saw nothing but flatlands and grassy plains, and immediately as he punctured the Earth with the first shovel, he heard a battle cry with Confederate men swarming like bees.  A magnificent force of Forty-four thousand strong, the Confederates charged fiercely toward Fisher and Grant’s forces who quickly formed ranks while quitting their morning rituals.  Men everywhere were screaming, and Fisher and Grant yelled, “RETREAT RETREAT!”

All the remaining Union forces sprinted to the forest seeking cover, and Fisher left his post as the last man trailing his men.  Inside the dense forest canopy, Fisher and Grant spotted the Confederates hastily looting their belongings and ammunition.

“What now?!” Fisher snorted.

“We fight, and we give our lives for the Union.”

Grant and Fisher made eye contact, and all fear left their souls as if they had summoned God himself to manifest inside them.  They rallied the remaining forces, and in one last desperate push, ran at their foes ferociously like animals.  Fisher loaded his LeMat, cocked it into scatter mode, and sent the first three men soaring off their horses and into the ground.  All around him soldiers fell and the smell of musket fire intoxicated the air with a thick grey smog.  While parrying another bayonet, he reloaded his LeMat to single fire and shot a confederate just meters away from him.  Grant, just feet away from him, passed him a saber, and he caught it in midair and sliced another man clean off his horse.  Fisher, Grant, and the remaining union men pushed through the Confederate forces, and reached the top of the hill with victory within their grasps.

“We have the hill, and Lee’s men are retreating sir, ” Said Fisher’s officer.

“Good.  Fetch Grant and tell the men to rummage for anything we can keep.  Any ammunition or firearms will suf–“. Fisher stumbled off backward and was sent spiraling uncontrollably down the hill, and felt nothing or saw nothing.


Grant immediately found Fisher and dragged him across the field toward a bundle of crates and tucked him behind it.  “WE NEED A MEDIC” he said over and over frantically.

“WE NEED A MEDIC! Hold on Fisher, just hold on son.. .”

All fell silent as the Union forces waited for another shot, but it never came.

Fisher, slowly ebbing away, whispered a troubling message to Grant, which made him cringe and  knack his teeth.

Grant, suddenly filled with emptiness, wiped his teary eyes and tore a red insignia with two diagonal star filled stripes from under Fisher’s uniform, and raised it up.  Clinging onto his final breath, Fisher tried to sit up straight, but before he could whisper an apology, Grant upholstered the very LeMat He had used to slay so many, and sent a ringing explosion into the skies.




Works Cited

Films, Florentine. “History of the American Civil War!” History of the American Civil War!                      WETA, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

Herdegan, Lance J. “The Iron Brigade.” The Iron Brigade – Essential Civil War Curriculum. 3                   April 2012.

Shi, David. “Norton Ebooks.” Norton Ebooks. Norton EBooks, 5 Feb. 2001.Web. 06 Apr. 2017

Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech, 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.



Mizokami, Kyle, Riju Agrawal, Myra MacDonald, and Daniel R. DePetris. “5 Most Lethal                       Weapons of the U.S. Civil War.” The National Interest. The Center for the National Interest, 3 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017

Corporation, A&E. “Union Captures New Orleans.” A&E Television Networks, 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.

Shi, David. “Norton Ebooks.” Norton Ebooks. Norton Ebooks, 5 Feb. 2001. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.