1776; Everything Before This Was a Mistake

Cooper Roth, Guest Writer

December 24, 1776

Dear sweet Alice,

How are things at home? I miss you so much. I hope to be home in three to four months, by the time the baby is born. I can’t wait to build his room next to ours. I was thinking about naming him Daniel. You are gonna do great as a mother.

Exhausting marches fill the long the days. Holes in my shoes make my feet sore. Shas become our number one goal as we march. The great Thomas Paine wrote another quote saying “These are the times that try men’s souls.” We are marching toward Trenton, New Jersey. General Washington says we will arrive by the time you’ll read this. We out number the Brits by nine hundred men.

Your husband,

Thomas Wright

We marched to the field in our row. We came from the left flank. “Halt!” our captain cried. “Aim! Steady, gentlemen. Fire!” Go get em. I quickly pulled the trigger. The musket ball flew through the air toward the imperial British forces. The bodies dropped beside me and in front of me. Groans of pain soared through the air. Frantically picking though my pocket, I went for another round. As I was pouring the gunpowder in and dropping a musket ball down the barrel, I saw the damned redcoats doing the same. I shuffled my gun faster, pumping with adrenaline. With my gun ready, I heard the orders again, “Aim! Fire!” I fired again. Another kill. As the Lobsterbacks fired a volley back, more of my comrades dropped to my side. “Charge!” Our lieutenant ordered and I ran like hell into the eyes of death. A blur of bright red rushed toward me and I lowered my musket pointing my bayonet forward. I plunged it straight into a man’s chest and buried the blade into the ground. For a split second I made eye contact with him. Seeing his fear right before his eyes glazed over urged me forward, and I swiftly pulled the bayonet out and wildly slashed the men around me. Filled with adrenaline, I couldn’t stop. Finally, standing alone in a cloud of dust and cannon smoke I stopped and became lightheaded looking at the mutilated bodies lying on the ground. I tried to step forward but the world started spinning. I crashed to the earth and everything went dark.


I woke up to the sound of yelling and footsteps. As my vision cleared, I saw red uniforms going through the bodies, looking for wounded and prisoners. I stayed motionless as the regulars walked away from me. After they walked a couple of yards I slowly got up and dashed for the trees at the end of the field. I heard yelling behind me. I sprinted faster toward the edge. A bullet whizzed by my ear, and I instinctively ducked. I’m safe. Where do I go next? Moss! I quickly got up and ran Northwest.


I have travelled for a couple months, living off the hospitality of Quaker families. I’ve rationed the bread and cheese. The milk lasted roughly three days. I do not worry about water due to the abundance of streams in the area. I’ve stowed away in barns for sleep, waking at dawn before the military police catch me for deserting. Constantly going forward, never looking back. One morning I heard soldiers marching down the road. I slowly got up and looked out the barn door and saw the Continental Army. I waited for them to pass and slunk into the back of the ranks.


We arrived in Bemis Heights on the night of September 18, 1777. We rested and ate dinner not knowing what was coming the next day. As we were mingling around camp an officer came up to me and said, “A letter from your wife sir.” How did she get this to me? I haven’t written her in ten months. I’m not even in the same company anymore.

April 29, 1777

Dear Thomas,

I write to you to tell you that the baby is a girl. Her name is Anne. She is beautiful. You’re going to be so proud.

I’m worried Thomas. Why haven’t you written? Where have you been? Thomas I won’t be able to do this alone. Please write back when you get this letter.


Alice Wright

I went back to my tent and tried to write. Dear Alice, I- crumpling the paper and throwing it to the side- I need sleep.

The rooster crowed as the sun rose over the earth. The bugle sounded and officers went around waking everyone up. I rubbed my eyes and sat up. Oh it’s too early. I sluggishly got dressed. I walked outside and greeted my fellow soldiers. I may never see some of these great gentlemen again. I shouldered my musket and walked to headquarters to get my orders. This process always takes forever but it’s mandatory. I got up to the front of line and cracked a joke, “Does anyone else smell freedom?” The officer didn’t even smile. Nice one Thomas. He handed me a paper with the name of my new company commander. I walked to the lieutenant’s tent and was then told to join the men on the left side of the field.

The soft rhythm of drums behind me kept my steps in pace. In the distance a sea of red crept toward us. “Halt!” Came the orders. Here we go again! “Aim!” Boom! I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder, and other in the right side of my rib cage. A loud ringing burst from my ears and my head began to swim. I fell to one knee clutching my side. My vision became blurry as I saw men running forward. I collapsed on my back staring up into the blue sky in the early morning. My Alice, I’ve failed you. Stay strong.




“American Revolution – FAQs.” American Battlefield Trust, 17 July 2018, Www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/american-revolution-faqs.

“Battle of Saratoga Facts & Summary.” American Battlefield Trust, 17 Oct. 2018, Www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary war/battles/saratoga.

“Battle of Trenton Facts & Summary.” American Battlefield Trust, 25 Dec. 2018,Www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/trenton.

Nelson, Ken. “American Revolution: Life as a Revolutionary War Soldier.” Ducksters, Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI), Www.ducksters.com/history/american_revolution/life_as_a_revolutionary_war_soldier.php. Accessed 17 April 2019.

Nelson, Ken. “American Revolution: Battles of Saratoga.” Ducksters, Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI),www.ducksters.com/history/american_revolution/battles_of_saratoga.php. Accessed 17 April 2019.