In Frederick on November 8 we heard that Lincoln had won the election. Pa was sure it would mean war. At supper all the talk was about what was going to happen. Pa wondered whether or not Maryland would secede if the other Southern states did. If Virginia and Maryland both did that would surround Washington with secessionist states. Pa was certain that Lincoln wouldn’t let that happen.
At the pond on Saturday, Tad, Eddie and Josiah were very excited talking about it. “D’ya think there’ll be war,” Tad asked me.
“Yup, unless the South comes to its senses,” I replied. Josiah didn’t really look happy at what I said, but I felt like I had to be honest.
I asked Pa if he would join the army,” Eddie added. “He said he didn’t know yet what he would do. Poor Ma cried during our whole meal.”
I told them that pretty much the same thing had happened at our house.
My pa had said that if there was a war he thought it wouldn’t last very long. It would probably be just a battle or two. And he thought war wouldn’t start right away. I kept hoping I could get to the army before the fighting was all over.
Josiah came almost every Saturday and Sunday now. He told me privately that he would miss me terribly if I went to war. All I could think about, except Josiah of course, was uniforms and camping and girls and shooting at Rebs.
Of course at supper every Saturday and again at dinner on Sunday the talk was mostly about war. Josiah said nothing about me joining, but I know he was thinking about it. Ma seemed very worried. Sometimes I thought, when I turned 15, I would run away to the army. But that would have been disrespecting Pa, and I couldn’t do that.
On Saturday and Sunday nights, we did what we always did in bed now before we went to sleep, fondling each other’s cocks and bringing each other to climaxes that left us in ecstasy. I still didn’t really know how I felt about it, but I just seemed unable to help it when I was with Josiah. It felt so good I couldn’t resist.
Sunday mornings after breakfast we always went to church. On December 16, the sermon was all about war and preserving the Union. There were special prayers for Lincoln and the army. I noticed Josiah did not say “amen” to those. I said a silent prayer asking God to send me a sign about whether I was sinning with Josiah or not.
Even though it was pretty cold, after dinner we went to the pond and met Eddie and Tad. The three of us were all getting better at hitting and catching the ball.
Once again at night, Josiah and I pleasured each other. I saw no sign from God, so maybe, I thought, He was not too unhappy with me.
Three days before Christmas we learned that South Carolina had seceded on December 20. Josiah and I wondered if Virginia would follow soon.
I had been carving toys for Eddie and Tad. Josiah and I had made new corncob pipes for our pas because theirs were almost burned out and they stank. The last time I was in Frederick, I had bought Josiah a fancy new cap I thought he might like and Ma some new needles for her sewing as well as a new pin cushion.
A few years earlier, Pa had read an article in the paper about people having Christmas trees in their homes, and he liked the idea, so we began to have them. He even fashioned some holders for candles to put on the tree.
So Christmas Eve morning Pa and I went to cut a tree for Christmas. We walked in the woods for a long time looking at trees and discussing which one to cut. There had been a bit of snow in the night and the woods were beautiful, with the white, powdery snow decorating the trees. Cardinals flitted about showing off their crimson finery against the snow and the dark green trees, their distinctive call of “What cheer, cheer, cheer” sounding through the crisp, chill air. Finally I found a little tree which I fell in love with, so Pa cut it and we brought it back home.
In the afternoon we made popcorn and strung it on thread while Ma threaded some dried fruits to decorate the tree. After supper Pa got out the candle holders and the candles, put them on the tree, and lighted the candles. As I always am the first time the tree is lighted, I was very excited. We turned down the lanterns so the candlelight was all that lit the room. The tree was just beautiful with the warm candle light, the dark green boughs, and the decorations we had made. Ma always worried about fire all the time the candles were lit, but we had buckets of water and anyway, nothing ever happened. Then, while we all sat in the living room, Pa read aloud “A Christmas Carol,” by his favorite author, Charles Dickens. He had read it every Christmas I could remember. By the time he finished it was late so I said good night and went to bed.
Christmas Day was bright and clear with just a little fresh snow on the ground. After I did chores, I put my going-to-meeting clothes on and we had breakfast before heading to church. We met the Parkers there. Eddie and Tad were so excited, and they loved the toys I had made for them! I gave Josiah his new cap, which he said he really liked as he felt it and sniffed the wool. He gave me a corn cob pipe and said he thought it was time I began to smoke. Ma frowned and Pa laughed.
The service was enjoyable for once, although it was as long as usual. At least the sermon wasn’t about the coming war, and we prayed mostly for people who were not with their families on this day. We sang some special Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and “See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” which are much nicer than the solemn hymns we usually sang.
After Christmas dinner, Ma, Pa, and I went into the living room, where Pa again lighted the candles on the tree. They were beautiful, even in the daylight! Then we exchanged presents. Pa gave me a new pocket knife because I had sharped my old one so much the blade was nearly gone. Ma gave me a new shirt I didn’t even know she’d been making. It was really special so I decided to save it for church. I thanked them both and gave them their presents. Pa was delighted with his new pipe and Ma exclaimed over the needles and the pin cushion. Then Pa and I sat in the living room, companionably smoking. At first I choked on the smoke while Pa grinned, but eventually I got the hang of it.
Saturday, January 12, was Josiah’s birthday. He was now officially 15. His ma gave him a new shirt and a pair of pants as he had pretty much outgrown his old ones. His pa gave him a new pair of store-bought boots.
The next morning at church Josiah and I admired each other’s new flannel shirts.
We also learned that Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama had all followed South Carolina into secession.
Josiah came home with us for the night, and over dinner he talked with Pa about the war while Ma and I listened. Josiah believed all the southern states would secede and there would be a short war before the South became a separate country.
Pa would not really guess what border states like Maryland would do. He said that secession sentiment was high in the eastern part of the state, especially in Baltimore, but he thought the western part of the state was just as committed to staying in the Union. I continued to be discouraged by the thought that Pa would not let me fight.
Two weeks later, when Josiah came, he was full of news. Of course I knew that Georgia had seceded but now, he said, Louisiana was going to too. We had still not heard anything about Maryland, and Josiah was anxious because Virginia had not yet made a move.
That night something new and wonderful happened. As we were getting into bed, Josiah said, “Elias, lie on yer back. I wanna try somethin’.” At first I was reluctant because I had no idea what he had in mind. But finally I did what he asked. He climbed onto the bed and straddled me, with his knees either side of my hips and his hands beside my shoulders. For a moment as his face came near mine, I had the strangest feeling that he was sending me a message. Then, slowly, he leaned forward and very gently kissed me on the lips! A thrill went through my body as I lay there, trembling. He pulled about six inches away from my face and said, “I’ve loved yer so kissable lips ever since I first felt of yer face.” Then he smiled his beautiful, impish smile, leaned down, and kissed me again, more firmly this time. I’d never kissed anybody on the mouth before. The sensation was thrilling — warm, gentle, and loving. My heart pounded so hard in my chest I thought it might burst.
Without breaking the kiss, Josiah lay on top of me, mouth to mouth, chest to chest, cock to cock. He was as hard as I was. Very slowly he moved up and down so that our cocks were rubbing beside each other.
At just about the last second he rolled off to the side and took hold of my cock. That was all he had to do as I shot a huge load onto my chest and even my face. I reached over, took him in my hand, and soon he was shooting too.
When we finished we lay back silently, each with his own thoughts. Finally, we cleaned ourselves off, crawled under the quilt, and lay facing each other, our arms holding each other close. And that was how we slept.
I finally decided that what we were doing was not a sin. If it was, God would have given us a sign. The only sign I received was the wonderful feeling I had when I was with Josiah. And if other people thought that what we were doing was wrong, I didn’t care. As long as we had each other, I was happy.
Lord, I knew I would miss him if I went off to war. Josiah said he was praying hard that if war came it would be very short so I would be safe.
By mid-February we were all certain that war was coming. On the first of February, Texas seceded, and on the fourth, The Confederate States of America was formed in Montgomery, Alabama. Jefferson Davis was to be the President. The states which had seceded had all issued calls for volunteers in their units. Again I tried to talk with Pa about joining the army, but he told me very firmly, “No.” I continued to think about running away. I was very tempted to, but I still believed that would be disrespecting Pa, and I just couldn’t do that. How could I wait until I was eighteen? The war would be over by then! Josiah understood and tried to comfort me, but there really was no comfort.
At night, when we were in bed, Josiah asked, “Are ya still worried about whether we’re sinnin’?”
“No, but I’m not sure my parents would approve, so we gotta to be very careful,” I replied.
We stopped talking and then, when we kissed, I took his lower lip in my mouth and began nibbling it. He did it to me and soon we were nibbling on each other. Oh, my, that was wonderful. We were so excited we shot our loads without either one of us touching a cock.
In March there was some trouble in Baltimore with the secessionists, and Lincoln had to be smuggled through the city so he could get to his inauguration, which was on the fourth of March. Since then there had been constant rumblings in Maryland about whether or not to secede. Pa, Josiah, and I still thought Lincoln would not let that happen because it would endanger Washington.
March 15th was my fifteenth birthday, and I was again the same age as Josiah. He had been joking that he was a year older than I was, so now we were even. Pa said that my birthday was the Ides of March, and that a writer named Shakespeare wrote, “Beware the Ides of March.” Did that mean I has to be wary of my birthday? I hoped not!
I tried to point out to Pa that my great-grandpa, Hiram, had fought as a boy in the Revolution, but Pa said that Great-Grandpa Hiram was 16 when he went to fight. Then he said to ask him again in a year, if the war went on that long, and he’d think about it. Well, at least that was better than waiting until I was 18!
As for me and Josiah, I didn’t really know whether boys could love boys or not, but if Josiah and I didn’t love each other, then what was it we were feeling? I was so happy when I was with him, and when I wasn’t, all I could think about was seeing him again. It was seeing him and being with him that was so wonderful. Of course I loved what we did in bed, but I would have loved him just as much even if we didn’t have that.
War finally came on April 12 when the Confederate Army fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and the next day the Union commander there surrendered the fort. Lincoln called for volunteers and said there was a “State of Insurrection.” After that Virginia finally seceded and it looked as though Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee would also.
Then on the nineteenth, there was a riot in Baltimore. A few people were killed and the government ordered the troops to put down the riot. Some of the representatives and senators who were known secessionists were put in jail. It looked as though we were right that Lincoln would not let Maryland secede.
Meanwhile, the newspapers were full of rumors and claims. Some said that Lincoln was going against the Constitution by jailing the elected senators and representatives. Others said he had every right to do what he was doing. In addition, Lincoln blockaded all of the southern ports to make it harder for the South to sell cotton or buy clothes or weapons.
Just as important as all this news was, something else very important to me happened one night as we were sitting on the porch smoking. Josiah said very quietly, “Elias, I love ya.” I was so surprised I nearly fell off the porch. He asked, “Is it wrong fer me to say that, Elias? Did I upset ya?”
Instantly I said, “No, it’s not and I’m not at all upset. In fact, I’m thrilled ’cause I love you too. I guess love’s what this is all about. At first I thought it was just sex, but it’s not sex that makes me think about you all the time or that makes me want to be with you even when we’re not doin’ anythin’ in bed.”
Josiah looked worried as he said, “Elias, promise me if ya go to war you’ll be careful.”
I promised, crossing my heart, and then we went to bed, where we had an especially wonderful night.
On May 24, Union troops crossed the Potomac River for the first time and captured Alexandria, Virginia. Then, five days later, Richmond, Virginia, became the capital of the Confederacy. I supposed that the Union would now try to capture Richmond. The war was passing me by, and I was very sad.
By the end of May, Josiah had to stop coming to our farm on the weekends because there was too much work to do. While there were many things he couldn’t do, he felt it was important for him to be at home and help when he could. I really missed him. At night I lay in bed, imagining that he was beside me and that we kissed and cuddled with each other. I was able to relieve my tension, but it just was not the same.