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Chapter 8: War was in some cases a battle of brothers

By Sharon Warner

This is this is the eighth in a series of literacy enhancement articles that appear biweekly in The Sentinel-News.


"In commemoration of Kentucky's sesquicentennial Civil War anniversary, the History Society will be holding a battle re-enactment. In addition to those who will reenact the battle, we're looking for volunteers in the following areas: refreshments, greeters, parking attendants, musical entertainment….

Musical entertainment! I couldn't wait to call Bark. I knew he'd want The Barkstreet Band to volunteer. And wait until I tell my parents. After supper and chores, I had hours of drumming ahead of me.

"How's it going, pups?" Mrs. Grant asked, entering our office.

"Unbelievable!" I said, knowing I needed to focus on my job. "Can you believe the two leaders of the Civil War were from Kentucky? It's one more thing that makes our state awesome!" I barked. We relayed the information about Lincoln and Davis to Mrs. Grant and told her about the Civil War battle reenactment. She complimented us on our work. My heart swelled, and my cheeks flushed from the praise. Chloe smiled from ear to ear!

"I'm impressed with the information you've gathered for our 'Brother Against Brother' room for our library. We have enough material for the 'Background' and the 'Brothers' section, now focus on the section called 'Bluegrass.' This will feature Kentucky's role in the war. After you eat lunch, spend time researching Kentucky. Were they a southern state or a northern state? Buzz me if you have questions."

Chloe and I fetched our lunch, gave thanks for our food, and gobbled up the vittles Mom had sent. I wondered what the Civil War soldiers ate. Grabbing a book, I read a few paragraphs to Chloe while we ate.

"The Civil War soldiers ate plain food like rice, onions and other foods that wouldn't easily spoil. Union soldiers also received a hard cracker-like biscuit called hardtack while Confederate soldiers ate cornmeal. When soldiers were in a real bind they ate rats."

"Woody, please!" Chloe choked. I was going to correct her for talking with her mouth full when I realized the time. I needed to call Bark and tell him about the Civil War re-enactment. I put the book away and made the call.

"Sweet," Bark replied. "The band will love to hear about a new gig."

"We'd better get going, Woody," Chloe instructed. "Mrs. Grant left us these books. Let's look through them before we log back on the computer."

I told Bark goodbye, and Chloe and I rummaged through the books we'd been given. One book, Kentucky: A Border State, immediately caught our eye.

"Kentucky was a border state. They allowed slavery but chose not to become a Confederate state. The state had ties to both the Confederate and the United States [also known as the Union]. Both sides wanted control of Kentucky. The Confederacy wanted to control Kentucky so they could have unlimited access to Kentucky's horses and crops. The Union needed the rivers in Kentucky to move supplies and soldiers. Still, the state remained neutral.

"While the state didn't pick sides, Kentuckians did. About 90,000 Kentuckians fought for the Union, while 40,000 people fought for the Confederacy."

"Unbelievable," we both said after reading the information. "Not only did the phrase 'brother against brother' refer to Lincoln and Davis, it applied to the people of Kentucky – families in Kentucky. I couldn't imagine family members – brothers – being on opposite sides of such an important event. Talk about a divided doghouse," I said to my sister.

Sure, Chloe and I could disagree over silly things, but we loved each other. I couldn't imagine going to battle against her.

We were giggling about the time we were arguing over whose piece of bacon was the biggest when Mrs. Grant came in.

"Hey, cuties! Tell me what you found out about the Bluegrass?" she asked as she plopped down beside us. We informed her of our findings, and once again she applauded us for our hard work. "You two have a great afternoon, and I'll see you in the morning."

We told Mrs. Grant goodbye before leaving the library. It was time to head home, complete our chores, eat and drum. First, I couldn't wait to tell Mom and Dad about playing in the reenactment. Rather than walk, Chloe and I both ran the entire way home.

I barreled through the door and – stop the presses – there was an open space on the living room floor. I searched every room. Nothing. My paws felt sweaty and my heart raced.

"Chloe, call the police! We've been robbed!"


To hear each chapter read and try the chapter activities, visit www.kypress.com.