The Brink of Extinction: “Freedom Rings” March 1865- The True Test

Chapter 3


It’s nighttime. The date is March 6, 1865. The Battle of Natural Bridge is happening and Abraham Lincoln will alter the course of history as we know it. With just a little over a month to live, Lincoln has a chance to put his new plan to the test. Florida; a state controlled by the South, is under attack and a victory will allow the North to be just a peace treaty away from winning the war. If they crush the rebels here, they crush them for good. Lincoln’s unit; commanded by General John Newton, is armed to the teeth. Lincoln’s plan is risky, but simple. Allow the battle to rage on as normal for an hour or so. Then, if the fighting is still ensuing, his army will retreat. This will make the Southerners think they have won only to find out that a hoard of dinosaurs is coming for them.  

The dinosaurs are stationed at a camp; set up this morning, just a few miles outside of where the battle will take place. They are in cages; furious and hungry. The Union soldiers in charge of them hold food in front of the beasts faces, keeping their distance from the cages that the dinosaurs are enclosed in. They are trying to make the dinos mad. They want the beasts to be hungry when they set them loose. Once the dinosaurs are out of their cages, there’s no turning back. The entire battlefield and eventually the Southern United States will become a hunting ground. Everyone’s lives; entire families, will be at risk, but the war will be won. Lincoln will have gotten what he wanted.

A few minutes pass and the first gunshot rings out through the battlefield. A Union soldier falls dead as many other gunshots and cannon fire follow. The battle goes on like any other, bullets and bodies flying everywhere. Blood and gore are taking the place of grass and dirt. The Confederates are pleased. Sam Jones sits on his horse, looking on in pride as the Union forces are reduced to nothing. As the Union forces retreat, he smiles. Though, there is a grim truth that Sam ignores: he is winning the battle, but not the war. His pride is a result of ignorance and short-lived joy. The battlefield looked like any other to him, dead bodies everywhere and gunshots sounding off from all corners. For what seemed like the first time in a while, his army is winning. Then, he sees something that he cannot believe. He squints, blinks, and then stares in horror as what seemed to be his imagination turns out to be reality: dinosaurs are running onto the field. Animals that were supposed to have been extinct are about to unleash unspeakable horrors on his army. The Union soldiers are gone, which should have meant that the battle is over and that the Confederate forces have won. Though, the battle has just begun. The army of soldiers was only the first force of destruction that Lincoln had in store to win the battle. Steven Kerling’s plan is about to be tested for the first time.

A Confederate soldier shivers in fear as he struggles to reload his rifle. He’s horrified, his hands are shaking. He has no idea what the massive lizard-like creature is that is currently racing towards him. All he knows is that the beast is headed straight for him and doesn’t look very happy. He can see it in the beast’s eyes, a malicious determination the likes of which he has never seen before. Before he can get the ramrod out of his rifle, he is thrown to the ground by a Velociraptor. The impact and the pain caused by the animal’s claws hitting his chest cause him to scream. Though, his scream is cut short when the animal clamps it’s jaws onto his head, breaking his neck while implanting its teeth into his skull at the same time. While the pack of Velociraptors causes terror throughout the Confederate army, the Tyrannosaurus Rex is still making its way to the battlefield. It’s footsteps would be easy to hear, if it weren’t for the deafening roar of cannon fire and blood-curdling screams.  

The Confederate soldiers are still retreating, running for the woods where they had emerged from at the start of the battle. Unfortunately for the Southern soldiers, the dinosaurs were faster. The Velociraptors pursue the rebels relentlessly, taking them down one by one and ripping their flesh. The Confederate army has been getting decimated since the start of the battle and the slaughter shows no signs of stopping. There’s no surrender here, no mercy. The dinosaurs have no care for diplomacy or a “fair fight”. They’re hungry, that’s it. For a moment, the few Confederate soldiers rejoice as they make it to the woods. Though, that rejoice is short-lived. As they reach the tree-line, they hear a noise; like thunder, coming from the woods. Then, as they stop and look towards the woods, the trees in front of them come crashing down. Thirteen of the soldiers are killed by falling trees, while the others are forced to endure the horror that follows. The Tyrannosaurus Rex has just emerged from the woods, and it is headed straight for the remnants of the Confederate army.  

The Confederate army now has a terrible choice to make. There are monsters on either side of them. On one side, a pack full of killing machines not much bigger than dogs, and on the other is one enormous beast letting out a deafening roar, larger than anything they have ever seen. The T-Rex’s teeth are like knives, serrated and built for crushing bone and tearing flesh. The Raptors are incredibly intelligent, quick, and have just as many deadly attributes as the T-Rex. Though, how can anyone expect the Confederates to choose one or the other? The options are the same either way you slice it: death or death. It is only a matter of which option is worse and whether or not either one yields any chance for survival. “Steady men,” one of the Confederate generals yells, “we stand a better chance if we stay together. Don’t let them pick us off one by one. Steady.” The soldiers have their weapons drawn, pointed at the dinosaurs, but not one of them fires a single shot. The dinosaurs nash their teeth and let out low growls. The area is so quiet you can hear the Velociraptors slam their large claws into the ground, signalling to one another. The men; trying to follow the orders of their superiors, struggle to stay still. They are afraid and know that their chances of survival are slim. At best, only a few of them will die. At the worst, it will be a horrific massacre. All of a sudden, the Confederate general is horrified as he watches his men deliberately disobey his command and break ranks.

The soldiers run to either side of the field, trying to escape the beasts by outrunning them, but it is pointless. Six of them are shot by Union soldiers, who are keeping their distances from the dinosaurs. The rest of them experience a terror like no other. Their screams echo throughout the battlefield louder than the cannon fire that is still being heard at Natural Bridge. The Raptors pounce on them, mauling them, torturing them for a few seconds with their enormous claws before clamping their jaws onto the soldier’s faces. The T-Rex runs toward them, stepping on some of the soldiers while devouring others, leaving no remnants of its victims. Within minutes, the whole unit is gone. Nothing remains of them besides bones and blood, aside from the six that were shot. 355 men are killed by dinosaurs in just 8 minutes. If Steven Kerling hadn’t changed the course of history, this battle would have gone over very differently for these Southern soldiers. They would have won the battle and a lot less of them would be dead. Unfortunately for them; in the end, the course of history did change, and this was just the beginning.  

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