Across Five Aprils Chapter 10
It is May when there is news of another Union loss at Chancellorsville. Although the Union army had had the advantage of numbers, the Confederate army had had the advantage of a superior general, Robert E. Lee. Joe Hooker had replaced Burnside as Commander of the Army of the Potomac. In the papers, he had seemed like "a dashing, fighting, confident man," but he is defeated by Lee's men. Soon, the papers that had once praised him are criticizing him. After the battle at Chancellorsville, seventeen thousand Union soldiers have either been killed or made prisoners.
Shad writes to the Creightons to tell them about the general disappointment and anger that many men feel toward Hooker. Although he has been lucky enough to survive the last battles, Shad is not optimistic about the future as he tells Jenny that she should be prepared for his death. John writes a more cheerful letter, talking about the President and Eb. He asks about Nancy and his children. Eb writes to Jethro from Mississippi where he is helping to build bridges. Fellow soldiers in the army are giving him a hard time because of his desertion, but he is enduring it well.
In the papers, there is much talk about Grant. The papers criticize Grant for being inactive--hesitating and waiting. There are also vague stories circulating about Grant's drinking problems, and people's attitudes toward him are getting worse. Grant is not removed from his post, however, and George Gordon Meade replaces Hooker in the Army of the Potomac. There is also the important news that Robert E. Lee is penetrating into the North, as far as Pennsylvania. In the North, Lee has become a feared legend. Then, in July, there is news of a battle of a great magnitude in Gettysburg: "It was a battle of unbelievable bravery and unbelievable ruthlessness; it was a clash of agonizing errors checkered with moves of brilliant strategy that lasted through three hot July..." Chapter 10, pg. 152 It ends in a victory for the Union army, but it is not yet enough to win the war. After Gettysburg, however, there is another Union Victory at Vicksburg, and Grant is yet again a hero.
One day, however, a letter arrives from Shad's aunt in Washington who informs the family that Shad's life is in danger. After having been injured at the battle of Gettysburg, he was moved to a hospital in Washington where he calls for Jenny constantly. She asks Matt to allow Jenny to make a trip to Washington to see Shad. After the family reads the letter, Ross Milton who has come to visit suggests that he take Jenny to Washington to see Shad, and everything is arranged for Jenny to leave the following morning.
After Jenny leaves, the family waits for news about Shad's condition. Finally, Ross Milton writes to tell them that Shad is still very sick, but he holds onto his life for Jenny. All through that summer, there are letters from Ross and Jenny. Jenny writes to thank Matt for allowing her to come see Shad, and later, there is a letter asking him to send permission for the two of them to get married. The next letter from Jenny is sent with the name of Mrs. Shadrach Yale, and she writes about her wedding day and about her days in Washington where she goes to the hospital to care for the sick soldiers. She tells them that Shad is going to get well. With Ross Milton's book, Jethro writes a reply to Jenny, telling her about the family and the crops that year.