This was the second time Charles Rivers Ellet had been given a flag. The first was when the mayor of Memphis presented him with the rebel flag that flown over the city before they’d captured it.
“Your father was truly a great man. His accomplishments were great, and he will be missed just as greatly.” The officer remarked as he handed Charles the Old Glory that had flown over his father’s ship during that fateful day.
Charles nodded back, numbly. The doctors had tried to prepare him for this, saying it was inevitable. The bullet the leg hadn’t been fatal, but contracting measles so soon after had been more than his father could take.
His thoughts drifted back to his father on the day before they’d sailed for Memphis.
Charles had found him on the docks, staring out across the water.
“This river, she’s something else.” He’d said. “Greater than any I’ve ever seen. I wish I could’ve been lucky enough to build a bridge over her instead needing to building ships of war to sail on her.”
“She’ll still be here after the war. Waiting for you,” Charles had responded.
Now, more than anything, he hated being a liar.
Tomorrow, 149 years back in time, Memphis fell to Union forces. The battle was entirely naval, with the eight ship Confederate fleet being completely decimated by the smaller group of Union ships. The key factor in the battle were the rams, a new type of ship based on a classic military design that eschewed guns for a giant iron wedge ram used to shatter enemy ships. These rams were designed by Charles Ellet, Jr., the father of the main character in the story. Before the war, he was a civil engineer that built massive suspension bridges. Ellet was the only Union causality, suffering a gunshot to the leg, and then succumbing to measles fifteen days later.