Study Guide

Across Five Aprils Chapter 10

By Irene Hunt

Chapter 10

  • May of 1863 brings more losses for the Union with a big defeat at Chancellorsville for General Hooker.
  • Jethro and Jenny both fear for the safety of Shadrach, and when they finally get a letter from him in late June they learn he's safe enough but shows no optimism for the future.
  • Shad even writes to Jenny that there is a very real possibility that she will have to mourn his death. Not exactly your typical love letter.
  • John's letter is cheerier (since he hasn't actually started fighting yet) and asks about how everyone is doing back home.
  • And then there's Eb.
  • Back in the army conditions aren't great, but Eb is taking it in stride and accepting responsibility for his actions.
  • Word on the street is that the President wants to get rid of Grant and rumors are going around that the General did his fair share of drinking.
  • Instead though, General Hooker is sacked and a guy named George Gordon Meade comes in to replace him.
  • In June, Confederate General Lee takes his first steps entering the Union and moves in on Pennsylvania. Dun dun dun…
  • Not long after—in July—comes the battle at Gettysburg, which is a major doozy.
  • The Union ends up winning but it's a bloodbath "that roared with a violence and terror such as the country had never known" (10.15).
  • But happy times are here again as Vicksburg falls to the Union and everyone is in love with Grant again.
  • Though for the Creightons, news arrives of Shad and it's not good.
  • He gets injured in Gettysburg and is brought to Washington where his aunt lives.
  • She writes to Jethro's family alerting them to his condition and how, when conscious, he calls out for Jenny—and she also offers to pay to bring Jenny to Washington to be by Shad's side.
  • Ross Milton tells Matt that he will make sure Jenny gets there safely… that is if he'll allow her to go.
  • Matt debates it for a bit but finally agrees to let Jenny go.
  • She leaves the next morning.
  • Jethro decides to nix his fieldwork, and ends up roaming about Shad's old place next to the schoolhouse.
  • Just like the rest of the family, all Jethro can do is wait.
  • Finally word comes from Milton in a letter saying he believes that Shad will live.
  • Word from Jenny eventually arrives, thanking her parents for letting her leave and saying how they have helped save Shad's life.
  • Matt dictates his response to Jenny's letter to Jethro, who writes on his father's behalf that Jenny has Matt's consent to marry Shad.
  • The next correspondence comes from Mrs. Shadrach Yale (way to get things done, you two) and spills all the details of Jenny and Shad's wedding.
  • Jenny continues to write home and tell her family all about life in Washington.
  • It's no picnic since she is spending a lot of time helping out at Shad's hospital, but Jethro is over the moon knowing that Shad is going to live and feels "as if somehow he has been granted a gift in escaping a sorrow that would have scarred his life" (10.55). Jenny isn't the only Creighton who loves Shad.