Across Five Aprils Topic Tracking: Death/War
Death/War 1: Jethro was born during a year when three Creighton children died within one week from disease. The Creightons have had several deaths in the family.
Death/War 2: Ellen is sad about the prospect of war which Jethro has heard about from his older brothers. Ellen tells him that she's afraid of her children being killed in the war.
Death/War 3: Although Jethro knows that people die in wars, he does not think that the war will affect his family. He thinks that those who die are people who have nothing to do with him.
Death/War 4: Tom and Eb who have strong opinions about the war are eager to go and fight, but President Lincoln is hesitant. When Jethro asks, Ellen tells him that the President has a difficult choice to make about the war.
Death/War 5: The Creightons like everyone else in the community are anxious and worried about the war. The talk of war makes the women sad and the younger boys restless. Bill does not like to talk about it with John, and Jethro notices that the talk of it causes "a troubled preoccupation" within the family.
Death/War 6: To Jethro, war had seemed exciting, but now, he is troubled because he realizes that there is more to it than mere excitement.
Death/War 7: The story about the battle at Wilson's Creek in Missouri where the Union army was defeated by the Confederates is especially touching to people at Jasper County because it has happened nearby. War becomes "a sorrowful reality."
Death/War 8: One night, Bill tells Jethro that he doesn't think anyone ever wins a war. War destroys both those who start it and those whom it's meant to hurt.
Death/War 9: Tom writes his first letter home. He writes to Jethro that "bein a soljer aint so much."
Death/War 10: On his way back home from Newtown, Jethro meets Dave Burdow. He is scared by the man, but he is still childishly innocent. He thinks that although things can happen to others, they can't happen to him.
Death/War 11: Dan Lawrence comes to tell the Creightons that Tom has died in battle. Dan was there when Tom died, and he relates the story of how Tom died.
Death/War 12: The men tell Jethro that he is lucky to be so young that he does not have to worry about the war, but Jethro is irritated to hear them say that.
Death/War 13: When a man named Hig Phillips is killed by a group of young deserters from the army, a wave of fear strikes the community.
Death/War 14: Ed receives a letter from his son who talks about the looting and the burning of houses throughout South Carolina. Ed worries that the war is going to make young soldiers including his own son think that life is cheap.