Adolphus burst through the opening to our shack, making a beeline to the stove. He gathered his tattered coat about him and stamped his feet.
“Such cold I have never see at this time of year. I bet it is near freezing!”
“I know it is,” I called from my bed, where I lay under every piece of cover I could find. I could see my breath in the air above me, which is why I knew it was freezing.
Adolphus bent down and looked into the stove. “This is almost burned up. Do we have more?”
“We don’t, and I don’t know when we will have more. You will have to get in bed like me and cover up with everything you have!”
Adolphus got into his bed and pulled three blankets over him. “This isn’t enough! I’m still cold.”
“Just lie still for a while and you’ll warm up. This is unlike you to complain so.”
“I’m not used to such cold, but I do apologize for my going on about the cold. I know you understand.”
“Yes, I am experiencing the same thing. In any case, it is time for me to stand guard duty.”
“I hope it goes well and that you return safely.”
“Thank you. I am certain that I will.”
I reluctantly got out of my bed and put on my coat and cap. Taking my rifle and back pack, I went back to my familiar station. A soldier I hadn’t see before stood on the parapet. I hailed him.
“Halloo! My name is Caleb and I’m here to relieve you.”
“I am glad to see you. My name is Roger, and I will also be glad to quit this post.”
“It is extremely cold, is it not?”
“The coldest I have ever experienced, but of course I am from Alabama.”
“I’m from Virginia, and this is still the coldest I’ve ever known.”
Roger climbed down from his post, and I took his place. Again it was quiet, but then I heard something that sounded like someone was crunching the ice that covered the ground between the two lines. I raised my head above stockade, which I later realized was a foolish thing to do. I felt something buzz across the top of my head, and then there was darkness. Only darkness.