The General & the Lady: A True Story of Civil Love and War
At forty years old, Reynolds was feeling restless. That was not unusual for him. It was a behavioral quirk of his that he always felt as though he had to be on the move. Tall and ruggedly handsome, John Fulton Reynolds could come across as stern and aloof. He was a man of high principles. Yet, at times, he seemed almost petty when matters didn’t go his way.
The sense of disquiet he was feeling now was born out of disappointment and more than a little anger at the way he’d been treated by his superiors. He had proven himself on the battlefield. He knew he certainly had during the Mexican-American War more than a decade ago.
Nevertheless, his requests for specific assignments had fallen on deaf ears. The position of commissary of subsistence had become available. Reynolds believed he was well suited for the job. Now that six years had passed the major still harbored ill will toward Secretary of War Jefferson Davis who had denied the request and gave the position to someone else.
Standing the deck of the ship now, he was still feeling irritable about those turns of events. Leaning on the railing, watching the setting sun, he recognized he was being a little cranky and more than a little petulant but, By God, he thought, I’m justified.
His dark thoughts were interrupted by the presence of another person who had approached the railing twenty or so feet away from Reynolds. He glanced over and could see that it was a young woman. Even in the dimming light, he could see that she was very attractive.
The young woman could feel his eyes on her. With his six-foot height, dark hair, thick black beard, and penetrating eyes, the major presented an imposing profile.
The woman turned her head demurely and nodded slightly at Reynolds in a way of greeting. Caught slightly off guard, the major quickly tipped his hat and said politely in a deep voice, “Good evening, ma’am. I hope I haven’t offended you by staring.”
“Why, not at all, sir, and a good evening to you,” she replied. “I take no offense.”
“I was just surprised to see someone else out here on deck, is all,” he said.
“It is such a lovely evening,” she said. “I just love the smell of the sea and the beauty of San Francisco there off in the distance. See how the lanterns on the streets create such a warm glow to the city? And this breeze! How wonderful it is!” She shook her head briskly to allow her long blonde hair to wave and flow in the light wind.
Reynolds was intrigued. His sour mood had disappeared. This isn’t going to be such a bad trip, after all, he thought.”