A Destiny Which Made Us Brothers — episode #35
was the middle of the night. Jason was sleeping
soundly in his bed. Unbeknownst to him, three
soldiers were outside his door. Without a sound,
they snuck into the room and walked up to his bed.
“McCord?” one of the
called. McCord didn’t stir. He reached out and
grabbed Jason’s shoulder. “McCord!” Jason naturally
was defensive since these men had just awakened him
from a sound sleep. He immediately went into action
and started fighting the three shoulders
Grabbing one of them, he shoved him up against the
wall. “Alright, for too many years now!” he said
between clinched teeth. “I’m sick of being set up!”
The solder tried to stop him. “I may have to take it
from civilians, but NOT from the army! Not anymore I
don’t!” The soldier assured him they weren’t there
to roust him. They had orders. “Orders?” Jason
questioned. “Who’s orders?”
“I’m not at liberty to say.”
“Well then what orders?”
The soldier pulled a letter from his pocket. “At
exactly three AM on May 16, 1873, to be delivered by
hand to the hand of Jason McCord.” The soldier flung
the letter and pouch toward Jason. Jason told him
he’d carried out his orders and to get out!
After the men left, Jason opened the letter and
On the Eve of any battle, there is a destiny that
makes some men enemies and some men brothers. And so
ten years ago tonight, destiny made a choice.
The words made Jason remember. He went back in time
– back to May 16, 1863 to a house he rushed into.
His gun was drawn on a man with his back to him.
“Alright, hold it!” Jason ordered. He told the man
to come out of the dark.
“You’re just in time,” the man declared as he came
forward so Jason could see him.
“General Grant,” Jason muttered in surprise.
“In time to have a drink with me, Lieutenant!”
They were alone. General Grant closed the door while
Jason announced the time was 3:10. Jason explained
to Grant that he had gotten separated from his
company. He needed to get back because there was a
rumor they would attack in the mor…Jason stopped
there as Grant stared at him. “There is, huh? Well
in every war, there are as many rumors as there are
rifle shots.” Jason apologized
asked Grant if he was hit. Should he help him get
back to headquarters.
“I fell from my horse,” Grant explained. “The rumor
is I was drunk. The truth is I haven’t slept in
three days.” Jason assured him he believed it. Grant
admitted that he hadn’t had a drink since many dead
men ago. Grant assumed Jason was a West Point
graduate from the top of his class. He was almost
right. Grant was feeling sorry for himself. He felt
like a failure. Jason kindly reminded him of all the
victories he had won. “They weren’t failures. They
were victories.” Jason convinced Grant that he was
the reason they won at Shiloh.
“What’s your name?” Grant questioned. He told him he
was Jason McCord of the tenth Indiana. “Any relation
to Josh McCord?”
Jason smiled. “My grandfather, Sir.”
“Oh…We served together during the Mexican campaign.
Fine officer. How is he?”
Jason smiled. “Well sir, he’s uh…a little too old
and too tired for this one.”
“I know how he feels,” Grant said as he held up a
bottle of whisky. “They call this pain killer. Well,
if ever there was a man in pain…” Jason thought his
leg was bothering him. “No, not my leg…and not that
fever from Panama, nor the ague or this
headache…this thundering headache…the pounding boots
of a thousand ghostly battalions battering at this
brain…The men I sent to die…the men I will…those
like you. Do you know what it’s like to bury four
thousand men in one grave? I do.”
“General, someone has to give those orders. There’s
no one we’d rather follow.”
“McCord, all my life I’ve been a failure.” He named
the army, farming, real estate. “When the war broke
out, I was a clerk at my father’s store. Not exactly
like those dashing rebel generals.”
“You’re the only one who’s made those rebel generals
run, sir,” Jason reminded him.
Grant named some of those rebel generals. “Each one
a success…brilliant…Better than my own Generals.
What do they think of me?”
Jason stepped toward him. “They’d run for you
through hell-fire, General.” But Grant wondered how
long he could keep the Generals’ respect.
“How long before I fail again? I’ve got a feeling,
“You’re tired, sir!” Jason declared.
“Tired, yes. Vicksburg…I’ve got a feeling Vicksburg
will be my biggest failure, and I’ll take the lives
tens of thousands of men down with me. Do you know
what it’ll cost to take Vicksburg?”
“I know what it’ll cost if we don’t,” Jason
“Yes of course, you’re right. Take Vicksburg and we
take back the Mississippi and split the Confederacy.
Without it the war goes on for years.”
“And during those years a lot of soldiers die.
Soldiers on both sides.”
My words made Grant mad. “I can hit Pemberton where
he least expects it!” Grant declared this as he
slammed the bottle down on the table. He took a
piece of paper from his coat, telling me he had a
plan. If the plan failed, it would be a death
warrant. “One common grave for the armies of
Tennessee and Ohio.”
Suddenly, the door opened and a man rushed in
pointing a gun at us. The man called us Yankees. The
man declared Jason a prisoner of war, then demanded
Grant to turn around…except he didn’t know it was
Grant. Boy, were they shocked when they discovered
who it was. “Well now…Lieutenant Lawrence, just look
what you have bagged here!”
The Lieutenant stared at Grant. “Sir, are you…?”
“That’s right,” Grant answered. “I’m a prisoner of
war.” One of the soldiers was really having a good
time with this, which didn’t make the Lieutenant
very happy. The Lieutenant apologized for the men’s
“I do believe that you’ve grabbed hold of a heap
more than even you can handle here,” Darcy declared
to the Lieutenant.
The soldiers with the Lieutenant even offered to
help him get the prisoners back to the camp. He
could be the shiniest hero in the south! The men
with Lieutenant Lawrence were deserters. Lawrence
explained he was taking them back to trial. “Some
trial!” one of the soldiers declared. “Me and my
brother would’ve just been shot!”
“Any man that runs from battle deserves to be shot,”
the Lieutenant explained hastily.
The men thought they had hope for their future now
that the Lieutenant had captured General Grant. He
would be more interested in him then the deserted
soldiers, they figured. The men all knew how much of
a asset Grant was. Lawrence was so excited, he could
hardly stand it! He figured Grant was their ticket
to peace. Then he surprised his two prisoners.
“Gentlemen, will you give me your word that you
won’t try to escape?”
“No,” Jason answered.
sir, if I were you,” Lieutenant Lawrence said. The
It appeared the soldier was in quite a position. His
prisoners made fun of him, wondering if he’d trust
them with guns, or if he’d risk losing the prize.
The Lieutenant knew he couldn’t chance Jason and
General Grant getting away. “Alright, get their
“General Grant, if I had you in my sights on the
battlefield, I’d pull the trigger without any
compunction. But you are a prisoner of war, sir. And
I don’t wish any harm to you. I’m going to do
everything I can to get you safely to Vicksburg.“
“I understand,” Grant answered. “You’re a good
Suddenly, Darcy turned the gun he was holding on
Lawrence. He held the cocked gun right up to the
Lieutenant’s temple. Jason decided to act fast. He
went to punch Darcy, but Darcy held the gun up to
him. “I’ll turn your belly to red,” he warned.
“There’s no one to give orders,” the other Darcy
brother declared. “So I’ll promote myself and I’ll
give orders to everybody! Ain’t that right,
“That’s right, Brother Joe!”
“Order number one…Brother Jim, fetch me that bottle
of corn that General’s drinking.”
“That’s a good order, Brother Joe!” Jim declared.
Joe threw the bottle to Jim, and the two started
“Next order…” Joe pointed the gun at the General.
“Darcy…” Jason stepped forward. “I’ll give you my
word. We won’t try to escape.”
“You’re too late, Yankee,” Joe declared. Then he
announced they were going to kill the General.
“Darcy, NO!” Lawrence shouted.
“Yeah! And then you’re going to get it, Lieutenant.
And then high-pockets. And me and my brother’s going
to be the high-mucking heroes! Nobody’s ever gonna
know we was legging it!” The Lieutenant begged Darcy
not to do this by promising not to bring up the
matter of his desertion. “Oh, indeed you will not,
you’ll be dead!”
“Alright, kill me,” Lawrence said then. “But take
General Grant back to our lines.”
“He’s worth more to the Confederacy alive,” Jason
tried to point out calmly.
“Not to me, he ain’t. Dead men don’t talk!” Darcy
“You do this and both your souls will burn in hell!”
Lawrence threatened then. But they weren’t concerned
about the here-after. They were concerned about the
here and now. Darcy cocked his gun and pointed it at
Lieutenant Lawrence made a move, getting himself
shot in the process. It was a struggle as Jason and
Grant fought the men. Before his eyes closed,
Lawrence was able to shoot one of his prisoners.
Grant and Jason walked over and kneeled down beside
the Lieutenant. “You alright sir?” Jason asked
“Yes, I believe so,” Grant answered. “Thanks to
Suddenly, they heard horses riding up. Jason hurried
to peer out the window. “Grey or blue?” Grant asked.
“Blue, Sir,” Jason answered as he went to open the
door. It was quite a group that busted into the
house just then. Grant introduced them as Generals
Wallace, McPherson, Sherman, and Sheridan. They
wondered what happened
“Never mind. I thought my orders were that you four
should never ride together.” They said they were
looking for him – they had disobeyed orders. “Uh
huh…Well, McCord here tells me that there’s a rumor
we’re going to attack here this morning.”
“According to your orders, Sir. We are awaiting your
word to hit Clinton.” Grant announced that he and
Jason had made up some new plans. “Isn’t that so,
Jason gave a brief laugh. “Yes sir.”
“We storm Champions Hill instead.” Grant started
giving the Generals orders. While doing so, Jason
picked up the mapped plans of Grants from the floor
and handed it to him. “We never did have that drink
together, did we?” Grant asked Jason.
“Well, maybe someday in Heaven or Hell or somewhere
in between. What time is it, McCord?”
Then Grant was gone in the night.
Present time, back in Jason’s hotel room, sitting on
the bed reading his letter.
And so, McCord, on the Eve of that battle,
Destiny had chose to make us brothers. It’s been ten
years now. About time we had that drink.
Jason took the flask from the clothed bag and took a
In the White House, Grant took a drink as well. Then
he broke the glass into the fireplace.
They would forever be bonded…
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
around The McCain Ranch