The Civil War

Stretcher Men

Stretcher Men
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.12

     challenging words:    pain-filled, unending, better, sheer, stretcher, expression, usable, impossible, battlefield, meantime, bullet, silence, fictional, reflect, number, drying
     content words:    Simon O'Neill, Richard Calhoun, Plum Run

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Stretcher Men
By Mary L. Bushong

1     Note: This story is fictional though set in a real battle.
2     Simon O'Neill and Richard Calhoun picked their way across the battlefield near the bottom of the hill. It was near the end of the second day of battle at Gettysburg. The sweat made Simon's red hair seem almost as dark as Richard's black hair. The light breeze cooled their faces as they stumbled forward.
3     Simon couldn't remember when he had been more tired. The numbers of men needing help seemed unending. The two of them had already made many trips to the field hospital, and it looked like they would keep going a lot longer.
4     Simon's shoe squished with water from where he had stepped into the little stream called Plum Run. The water was still red, but not as dark as it had been. He thought the name should be changed to reflect the events of the day. They had pulled more than one body from its narrow bed already. He wondered if the men had fallen there, or if they had dragged themselves to the edge looking for a last drink of water. In any case, it would be a while before the water was usable.

Paragraphs 5 to 13:
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