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General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

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General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Father General on Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:33 am

General Seitzinger paced before his headquarters. In his hand was a telegram from Richmond which denied him reinforcements and ordered him to resume pursuit of the Father General. The message stung. Did they not know he was outnumbered by a superior enemy force? How could he be expected to do the impossible, which was defeat General Georgia, THEN the Father General?

The ordeal was ridiculous and what could he do when staring down the barrel of defeat. Ought he resign? These thoughts played over and over in his head as he waited the dread word that a Union column was advancing.

But all day, no such warning came.

His dread was answered by late afternoon as a courier came to warn him that a rider had approached the picket line. Indeed, there was considerable commotion in the distance. Seitzinger called for his horse and for some of his aides to accompany him. However, before they could set off, he noticed the lone rider, his face black as the night and his coat a tattered and familiar butternut. The twin stripes on the sleeve told him who it was. It was Corporal Jenkins, the Father General’s trusted scout.

When Jenkins met Seitzinger, both men were mounted. They exchanged a salute, a token of mutual respect which took some of the men aback, but not all. Most of the staff had enough sense to remember this man had given them fairly accurate information about General Georgia’s columns at Uniontown. He was welcome now.

“General Seitzinger, how do you do, sir?”

“I am well, Corporal Jenkins, I am well.”

“General Neal requests your presence at his headquarters, sir.”

“Well, I’m afraid I can’t leave. The Yankees could attack at any minute.”

“Aww sir, there’s no danger of that. General Georgia is still preying upon the locals to your east, counting spoons and women as he goes. Given there are a fair number of both between you and he, I’d say you’re safe for a day or two. Sir.”

Seitzinger mulled this thought over and found it absurd, but quite believable. He had heard the stories of General Georgia and was shocked by them.

“Alright, but I should assemble some aides to come with me.”

“No sir, you are to come alone.”

Seitzinger paused to consider this. “What about my pistol and sword? Am I to leave those behind? Because if so, I’ll have to decline your offer.”

“You’re expected to bring those, sir. The Yankees have bushwhackers too,” Jenkins warned.

With that settled, Seitzinger instructed Jenkins to lead the way.

The first hour of the journey was easy, over level and varied terrain, but then they entered the mountains where the terrain became steep and only the faintest hint of a trail was visible through the trees and underbrush. It quickly became obvious that the Father General had situated himself on good terrain, high and remote, virtually inaccessible by a column of adversaries.

As the mountain became arduous for their horses, Corporal Jenkins stopped on the trail and held his gloved hand up, silently instructing Seitzinger to stop. Only the breathing of the horses could be heard in the eerie forest silence.

Corporal Jenkins twittered like a bird and his whistle was promptly answered with another. They sounded like actual birds, but Seitzinger knew it was men. Yet, not a soul was visible. Not a branch could be seen stirring. He had a sense that more than one rifle was pointed at him.

As the bird calls ceased, Jenkins resumed the pace. After a few minutes he informed, “We’re past the pickets.” It was obvious to Seitzinger that he wasn’t dealing with an ordinary man or an ordinary division of rag-rag, run-of-the-mill soldiers.

The impression became more apparent as they passed the second line, this time deployed in skirmish formation. Each man had a beard of some length and his uniform was badly worn and tattered. Shoes were held intact with twine and whatever other materials the men had improvised. However, their rifles sparkled clean, and the bayonets were fixed adding extra weight, but close-quarters lethality to their pieces.

Every man handled his weapon cooly, with precision and grace. The rifle was just another part of each soldier’s body, such they had drilled. Seitzinger envied the Father General who was famous for his skills as a drillmaster, among other quirks of character.

But how strange the man truly was would soon be revealed. Now they entered a cleared area with tents in rows. The entire camp was clean, not even a single pine needle littered the meadow where the camp was pitched.

Growing dark, the men were finishing their suppers. The smell of various meats, doubtless hunted and foraged from the area, permeated the air and made Seitzinger very hungry.


At the edge of the camp, he now came upon a resplendent sight, at least when compared to the rest of the place. A single tent, larger than the others and covered with a fly stood alone. Hanging from the tentpole was a wooden sign where it was neatly painted, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Flanking the tent were men of a different caliber. These solders stood tall and straight in fresh, clean uniforms. While the rest of the army struggled for want of shoes, these men wore good boots. Their faces were clean-shaven. These were the soldiers of the 1st Mississippi Volunteer Rifles, a handpicked unit that was itself formed from the Father General’s pre-war militia. Every man was selected based on his marksmanship skills. Every man was a deadly shot and appeared ready to kill on command.

These were the elite troops of the Confederacy.

Under the fly, which made a shaded porch, sat a table filled with fine silverware. Aides were seen clearing it, it was obvious that supper was done. Seitzinger could feel his hungry stomach sink.

But at the head of the table was the man himself –the Father General.

Dressed in an all-white uniform, bright as a star, trimmed with gold, the bearded man sat erect as though his spine were a lodgepole. His hat was off and his coat unbuttoned, but he appeared so dignified, so formal, that it did not matter.

His steely gaze fixed on Seitzinger causing the younger general to shiver. It was obvious this man was insane.

Seitzinger dismounted and approached the tent. In unison, the guards clicked their heels and presented their arms in salute to General Seitzinger. Seitzinger, who could hardly breathe at the sight returned the salute with his gloved hand and although he lowered his arm, the men remained in position, saluting until he had passed them entirely.

The Father General was standing and buttoning his coat as though he were surprised at Seitzinger’s arrival. Plumed hat under his arm, he saluted. Seitzinger returned the salute out of reflex, then noticed his mouth was agape. He closed his jaw and composed himself. He was not here for the scenery. In a few moments, he would have to decide what was meant by “terminate with extreme prejudice” and act upon the order, or defy Richmond at permanent risk to his career.

For days, Seitzinger assumed that the minute he looked at the Father General, he’d know what to do, but it didn’t happen.

If the generals and secretaries back in Richmond could see what he saw, would they still want Seitzinger to kill him?

More than ever, probably…

Recognizing the distress on Seitzinger’s face, the Father General spoke in a gentle voice.

“I’ve seen horror. I’ve seen the horrors you’ve seen. But you haven’t seen horrors like I’ve seen… You have no right to call me a deserter. But you have a right to kill me.”

Seitzinger was taken aback by this statement. The Father General had noticed that Seitzinger’s holster was unbuttoned.

“You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me. It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror.”

With a gesture, the Father General bid Seitzinger to sit and took a seat for himself.

“Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror,” he continued. “Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies,” the Father General speech trailed off as he gazed into the fading dusk.

“I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream. That's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor . . . and surviving.”

The fading light became quiet. The Father General grew silent and the sounds of the camp grew distant. The Father General was having a monologue with himself.

“ You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling… without passion…”

After a few minutes this spell broke and the Father General returned his gaze to Seitzinger.

“This is why you are losing, General Seitzinger. It’s Abomination… Lee has the same problem too.”

Seitzinger was wildly perplexed. None of this speech made any sense at all.

“Excuse me?” Seitzinger finally asked.

The Father General seemed shaken back to reality by Seitzinger’s request. “Oh yes!” Father General cried. “Col. Kurtz! Come here!”

A staff colonel soon presented himself. “Bring General Seitzinger a platter.”

The Father General sat quietly, gazing into the distance as the men waited. After several minutes a covered platter was presented to Seitzinger along with a glass filled with water. Under the cover was a heavenly roast with potatoes. A lesser aide brought him a cloth napkin and silverware and yet another was ready with small tins of salt and pepper.

Seitzinger was surprised at the meal and its incredible aroma, but his first instinct was to refuse. But the smell got the better of him and he immediately began carving his first bite from the roast.

“Ahem!” the Father General said loudly. The Seitzinger remembered he was dealing with a religious fanatic. With reluctance he put down his utensils and the Father General began a prayer. The prayer lasted for an uncomfortable minute and Seitiznger didn’t even bother to listen. He started eating the second it was finished.

“Abomination!” the Father General resumed. “You have Abomination in your ranks. This is why although you fight on the side of right, you are losing your battles.”

Seitzinger finally came up for air and quizzed the man on what he meant.

“Dice! Drink! Cards. Perhaps even a copy of the heresy of Charles Darwin. You see this army?” he gestured toward the camp. Every man has been inspected for these items. They cannot be permitted. Any army which marches with them is consigned to defeat by Providence, as a punishment for Abomination.”

Seitzinger understood what he was saying. A single pair of dice in some poor soldier’s haversack would mean certain defeat. Gesturing with his fork and knife, Seitzinger objected. “What about the Federals? Surely their men carry these things too. Why don’t they lose?”

“Because they fight on the side of Perdition. Perdition!”

The explanation would have to suffice. There was no sense in following this line of illogic with a kook.

As he finished his meal, Seitzinger began his planned interrogation.

“Father General –I mean, General Neal, sir… Should we not concentrate our efforts on the common enemy? Would not our forces combined be enough to whip General Georgia?”

The Father General’s eyes squinted as they focused on Seitzinger. The finished plate and silverware were spirited away by more aides.

“Son, I have no need of your reinforcements. I could whip General Georgia, if I wanted to. I have faced him before.”

“So?”

“So, my mission is to strike at Washington. So no, I will not help you to fight General Georgia. Instead, you will wrangle with him. Once you have cleansed your camp of Abomination, you will be victorious. You need only to be brave and faithful and the armies of Providence will reinforce you.”

“But he outnumbers me, badly. And surely you can’t attack Washington! The enemy has forts on excellent ground. You won’t get within the city!”

The Father General held a single finger in the air to interrupt. “You assume too much, General Seitzinger. For one, I do not care how many the enemy are, I only care where they are. For when I fight, I fight with the Host of Providence, which reinforces my command with about 16 million and two effectives. And I care not about ground, for my ground is always the highest. I fight from the heights of righteousness and therefore, I cannot lose because of a silly thing like ground. I instruct my brigadiers to attack, no matter what the terrain or the numbers may be. Only by such courage can victory be won.”

Seitzinger was taken aback. “Don’t you see the harm you have done to our cause by your desertion? Our cause is blessed by Providence, but you’re harming it!”

The Father General answered, “My cause is that of righteousness. It does not matter the color of the uniform or the location of the office. If the conduct is cowardly and immoral, then it must be opposed. Richmond would never bless such a plan as this, but I answer to a greater command –that of Providence. I do what I am told in prayer.”

“So you would fight against me? Against my army too?”

“If you were traitors to Providence, yes.”

“What do you intend? To fight me or General Georgia? Or do you insist upon making your attack on Washington, entirely alone? I must add General Neal, that General Georgia is quite abominable.”

“I have already told you my plan. It is not within my rights to deviate from it. I have my orders. I shall end this war within the next week. Given that painful reality, it does not matter of you defeat General Georgia or not, for I shall defeat all the Union with a single stroke, blessed by Providence.”

The moment had arrived. Seitzinger had to decide what he should do about the Father General.

As the two men stared across the table, aides set a pitcher of hot tea out along with cups. It was time for dessert…
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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Father General on Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:42 am

Aides served the men chamomile tea and a small piece of cake, so tiny that it could yield but three bites if a man cut it small. Lanterns were lit and the two men watched one another as their tea cooled, neither one speaking.

Seitzinger mulled his options.

He could not kill the Father General, and even if he could pull his pistol fast enough, he would be dead immediately following. He could not disobey Seddon, for it would mean the end of his career. Yet, Seddon was a distant concern. In fact, Seitzinger was slowly realizing that he could not possibly live to face Seddon or to see the end of the war.

After much thought, he finally had these words for the Father General, and he spoke them though they meant certain defeat and probably death.

"Sir, the Almighty presents me with two options. I either follow orders from Seddon in Richmond and attempt to terminate your command or I support your lunge at the enemy's throat. Attacking General Georgia's force might well be the end of my corps. Yet, if the Yankees between us and Washington are occupied it might provide your division with the opportunity our Cause is in so dire need of. I don't know what the outcome of all this will be but I'm sure that it is in the hands of God alone. I shall offer battle to the enemy host once more. I have not been reinforced and I do believe that none shall arrive. We must prevail or perish."

At these words the Father General was delighted.

“Very well sir, it is agreed between us. This is just as Providence has promised. Do you not see the Great Hand in all this?

“You shall occupy Gen. Georgia, so that my division experiences no delay in its march to Washington. We will pass by, but we must not heed the sound of the guns for Providence has deigned that we shall not clash with the ruffian Georgia. It will be your task to block him.

“However, you needn’t worry. I have given you the plan for success. Cleanse your corps of Abomination and the Host of Providence will come to your deliverance. You’ll see. I promise you will be victorious.

“Now, let us enjoy this cake. You will need to return tonight by moonlight, lest some wayward Union scouts observe you meeting with me.”

The Father General beamed as he enjoyed his cake, but Seitzinger could hardly choke down his. He didn’t even finish his tea.

Later, as he rode back by moonlight, guided one last time by Jenkins, he pondered what he would write to Seddon and his family.
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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Father General on Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:55 am

A little aside, from a similar story...

Should help you appreciate the situation Seitzinger has been put in.

Second half is the same scene in German.

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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:27 pm

I guess I had it figured out after all and your aide Col. Kurtz I wonder if he is related to the one in clip. affraid 

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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Father General on Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:03 pm

Yes you did, Morsey!

And great-grandfather is the relation.
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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:41 pm

HEHEHEHE!!

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Re: General Seitzinger meets the Father General...

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