Where does Eb go after Lincoln gives the deserters amnesty in Across Five Aprils?
Eb returned to his old regiment, which was stationed in Mississippi; he determined to work hard and do a good job for them until his term of enlistment was fulfilled.
Eb had been in a deep depression after a brutal battle in which many of his comrades had been killed. Without really thinking about the consequences of his action, he decided that he "couldn't stand (the fighting) any longer," and "jest up and left." Eb found life as a fugitive even harder, however, and though he regretted his decision, he found that there was no going back; if he returned to his regiment, he would be court-martialed. In response to an appeal from Jethro, and probably others, President Lincoln granted amnesty to deserters who wished to return to their posts. These men were instructed to
"report at certain points designated by local recruit offices by April 1, (to) be restored to their respective regiments without punishment..." (Chapter 9).
Following these directions, Eb returned to his regiment. He wrote to Jethro from where he was stationed in Mississippi on the Yazoo River, not far from Vicksburg. He was assigned to
"digging ditches, chopping wood, and building bridges...the heat and the dirt were bad, and there was an added hardness to his life brought on by his weeks of 'improper absence,' (which he) accepted...with humility."
"Its hard to have sum fellers hate you fer what you done but the blame is mine and Ill take what they say to me and do my job till I fall over" (Chapter 10).
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