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The Creightons get help from all over the county cleaning their well and getting their farm in order. Then, once the summer chores are done, they will help raise a new barn. Ed Turner gives the family a huge dog to help keep watch against future attacks.
Meanwhile, another neighbor, Dan Lawrence, comes home wounded from Shiloh. He visits the Creightons and describes the high spirits of the soldiers before the battle. He explains how at the end of the first day of fighting he and Tom Creighton were watching boats come in with reinforcements. That was when Tom was hit and died instantly.
Word of Dan Lawrence’s story and Tom Creighton’s death spreads through the county. This prompts Ross Milton to print an open letter in his paper. The letter is addressed to those who attacked the Creighton farm. It points out Matt Creighton’s suffering, including the death of his son for the Union cause, and accusingly questions what the attackers have done for the Union.
Jenny takes the letter from the paper and puts it inside the family Bible. She records Tom’s death in the ledger at the front of the book. Jethro asks about their three little brothers who had all died in the same year. Jenny thinks it is a miracle that she and Jethro did not get sick from that disease. They read over the other ledger entries and sadly reminisce. Jethro tries to cheer Jenny by pointing to the line where one day will be entered, “Married to Shadrach Yale”.
The war lingers through the summer. There is more violence and property destruction against the townspeople who support Matt Creighton. The owner of the town store sets a trap for the vandals and catches one with buckshot in the backside. This changes the attitude toward the evildoers from fear to ridicule.
Meanwhile, Jethro is worrying and wondering about how poorly the Union leaders like McClellan and Halleck compare to the Confederate leaders Davis, Lee and Jackson. It is “what the President himself was wondering” that summer.
In this chapter we see how the Bible ledger represents the basic facts of life and death. Tom’s death, though saddening, is not shocking to the Creightons who have now lost five children. Hope that the war will be over and that all the Creightons would survive is gone.
Public opinion of the war is cycling up and down. Jethro is searching for a hero among the Union leaders and finds none. Historically, both generals involved in the Corinth campaign described in this chapter claimed victory. Halleck considered the strategic significance of occupying the city without considering the defeat of Confederate soldiers. Beauregard felt he had won because his soldiers had evacuated and left the Union army nothing but a diseased and deserted town.