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Harold Hieth’s Rifles for Watie: A Review Essay

1 Jeff enlists in the union army. “If by a miracle, a general war could be avoided, soldiers were still needed to halt guerrilla warfare in Kansas, brought by the Missourian proslavery faction across the border, Jeff’s dearest wish was to become a soldier.” (Jeff) 2 Jeff chooses this side because he heard Abraham Lincoln give a speech that convinced him that the south was wrong. 3 The incident that occurs is Jeff’s family is attacked by bushwhackers. “And I’m tired of fighting them with just a sickle, Pa. I want to go to fort Leavenworth tomorrow and join the Kansas volunteers.” (Jeff) 4 Nouns- soldier, hero, Kansas, brother, unioner. Adjectives- loyal, strong, eager, fearless, good. Verbs- fights, works, enjoys. 5 The reasons are, John wants to see the world and David, like Jeff, simply wants to be a soldier. 6 David receives anger from his mother and she will not let him stay.

“That’s what you’ve always wanted, so go on now back to the army.” (David’s mother) 7 One hard lesson is how quickly you can get hurt in the army, like Ford Ivey. “I don’t wanta live if I hafta be a hopeless cripple for life!” (Ford p.71). Another hard lesson is what secrets can lead to. Such as Clardy killing sparrow because of a secret. “If I hadn’t gotten mad and deviled the captain about the widows murder poor sparrow might still be alive today.” (Jeff, p.76) 8 Jeff is upset because Clardy has just set Jeff up to be arrested, then gave him a harsh punishment 9 The Missouri woods reminded him of his mother’s brilliantly colored rag rug that lay on the split log floor beside her bed, back in Linn County.

The blackjack seedlings seemed a flame in the genial sunshine. The young oaks glowed in livid. The oaks couldn’t seem to agree on an appropriate color; some wore a subdued foliage of and pale, others were gay in and bright. A cardinal flew leisurely out of a tall, sweet gum, and Jeff thought at first it was a falling leaf. Dixie trotted along contentedly at his side. 10 When the union officers reach the Washbourne home, Clardy treats them rudely.

However Jeff’s kind and helpful treatment earns him a meal. “Supper for us or must I burn down your house and set an example to the rest of this yappy Indian town?” (Clardy p.114) 11 The purpose of the propaganda was to inspire the troops to dislike the rebels. “If each man of you what I have here urged upon you, we will entirely destroy them.” (Noah p.126) 12 The ‘treatment’ is, the boys line up and walk past Clardy, each saluting. The line goes on for so long that eventually Clardy can barley lift his arm. 13

Lucy| Jeff |

“Slavery and preservation of the union, have very little to do with the Cherokee nation.” (Lucy,p.171) | Jeff says the war is fought to reunite the north and south together.| Lucy thinks there should be slavery in the west if the territories agree to it.| The declaration of independence states that all men are created equal. |

14 The grandmother hates to see spring come because she knows that bushwhackers come with it. 15 Jeff arranges for Lee Washbourne’s body to be sent to his family. He pays for someone to take it back he also is angry with captain Clardy and refuses to replace a fallen gunman. “A hot bitter rage at Clardy flared in Jeff. (Jeff) 16 Jim fills his canteen with union coffee which is easily recognized and could get them caught. 17 It is unusual because the conditions in the army were harsh, many people deserted. 18 “They had to learn to sing, dance, play the piano, ride horseback, read the classics, and flirt with boys without seeming immodest.” (Jeff) 19 Jeff knows spring is coming because everything is starting to turn green.

“Already the burr oaks were wearing light green tassels and the red buds purplish blooms brightened the hillside and valleys.” (Jeff) Jeff can also smell the spring flowers. 20 Heifer tells Jeff to treat everyone nicely, but to always keep his gun insight. 21 I agree with this advice because in war you never know who might turn out to be your enemy. 22 The hound has outrun its owners and it takes a liking to Jeff. “Apparently, the hound had outrun its handlers.” (Jeff) 23 “And during his service with the south he had been both cavallary man and a teamster.” (Jeff) 24 The author is trying to show that Jeff will miss the army but is ready to start a new chapter in his life.


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