Across Five Aprils

by Irene Hunt

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What happens to Shadrach Yale at Gettysburg in Across Five Aprils?

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Shadrach Yale is critically injured at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg occurred during "three hot July days" in 1863.  It was "a battle of unbelievable bravery and unbelievable ruthlessness"; an incomplete but decisive Union victory, but one that came with a tremendous cost.  Shadrach Yale was a part of that battle, and one of the casualties on the Union side.  He was brought from Gettysburg to a hospital in Washington with "serious wounds which became gangrenous before his arrival".  He was found by a "spinster aunt" who happened to be serving as a volunteer nurse at the location, and it is she who writes to the Creightons, telling them of his condition.

Shadrach's aunt writes to Matt Creighton, imploring him to let his daughter Jenny come to Shadrach's side.  She says that "he has had short periods of consciousness during which time he has begged (her) to write to Jenny Creighton...he calls for her constantly in his delirium".  Shadrach's aunt offers to pay Jenny's expenses and give her shelter in her own home if Matt will allow her to make the trip.  She emphasizes that Shadrach's condition is "very critical".

Matt does allow Jenny to travel to be with Shadrach.  The two are married, and with her loving help and support, Shadrach recovers from the injuries he sustained at Gettysburg and eventually returns home with his young wife (Chapter 10).


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