Killed at Resaca

Ambrose Bierce

Killed at Resaca

The best soldier in our regiment was Lieutenant Herman Brayle. Brayle's home was in Ohio. None of us knew him well, but our general liked him.

Lieutenant Brayle was a tall and handsome man. He had gray-blue eyes and long blond hair. His shoulders were wide and he had long legs. He always wore his best uniform, even when he was in a battle. He was a well educated gentleman, and he was about thirty years old. Artists like to paint pictures of soldiers who look like Brayle.

Brayle was either very brave, or very foolish. He did not behave like other men.

Soon after Brayle joined our regiment, we fought a big battle. Men were killed on his right, and men were killed on his left. But no weapons injured Brayle himself. He never tried to find a safer position. He walked, or rode his horse slowly, as the bullets and cannon shells flew through the air.

Everyone noticed him. The fighting was terrible but Brayle did not care.

During that battle, the general sent a messenger to Brayle He ordered Brayle to, "Take cover". This was unusual. The general had many things to think about during a battle There was no time to worry about the safety of one man. But the general liked Lieutenant Brayle. He saw Brayle's foolish behavior, and he did not want him to die

In the next battle, Brayle behaved in the same way. He sat his horse where everyone could see him-including the enemy. Ballets and cannon shells did not touch him. Brayle stood like a rock in the center of the battle. He did not move, and nothing hurt him.

After that, we decided that Brayle was neither brave nor foolish. He was simply very lucky.

The general also believed that Brayle had good luck, so Brayle became his messenger. Other messengers were killed, but Brayle was never in trouble. He always delivered the general's messages to our front line successfully.

Our front line was often less than one hundred yards away from the enemy. Our men lay flat on the ground as bullets and shells flew over their heads. But Brayle did not lie on the ground, and he did not keep his head low. He simply walked up to the front line, and delivered his messages to the officers there. Then he returned to the general, to give his report.