The Civil War

A Letter Home

A Letter Home
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.54

     challenging words:    barrows, broad-shouldered, light-headed, open-sided, innate, further, attendant, testimony, account, pressed, based, mistake, tone, amount, fictional, moment
     content words:    Private George Youngblood, Private Youngblood

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A Letter Home
By Mary L. Bushong

1     Note: This story is fictional, but loosely based on a true account.
2     Constance pressed close behind her mother as the two walked onto the hospital grounds. Mrs. Barrows led the way to the surgeon's tent. It was little more than a field hospital, and the surgeon's operating table was still in place. The doctor's blood soaked apron had not yet been washed. Constance felt light-headed. Had it been a mistake for her to come?
3     "Good day to you, Mrs. Barrows," said the young surgeon with a tired voice. "I see you brought reinforcements in your efforts to help our brave boys. Is it wise to bring such a young lady to a place like this?"
4     Mrs. Barrows nodded. "I hear that Northern ladies visit their boys. Is it right for our own boys to lay suffering and dying away from the loving arms of their own families? It is right for her to be here. Perhaps we may both offer some small amount of comfort."
5     The surgeon nodded and waved to a broad-shouldered attendant.
6     "Private, take these two ladies to visit the boys in your care."
7     The private led Mrs. Barrows and Constance to the large, open-sided tent. He bowed to the two ladies and went back to work. Some of the men were awake. Their eyes followed the two women as they went from bed to bed. Their mouths were clamped shut against the pain as a further testimony of their courage.
8     Constance was nervous. She had never before been in a hospital tent. The smells and sights in the tent were almost enough to make her run out. She knew that if she did, she would never be allowed to come again.
9     One young man seemed paler than the others around him. Any tan in his skin had been washed away with suffering.

Paragraphs 10 to 18:
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