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Across Five Aprils

The book Across Five Aprils is about Jethro Creighton, a boy who grows up during the Civil War.  Jethro has read stories about war, but realizes what real war is like when war starts.  Jethro lives on the Illinois, Kentucky border. His family owns a farm on which Jethro helps.

At the beginning of the book, Jethro is nine years old.  Jethro is the youngest of many children.  His brothers and cousins must go join the army.  Only he and his sister, Jenny, stay.  As the years pass he misses his many relatives. Jethro and Jenny in their spare time read the newspaper. The newspaper is full of stories about generals and battles.  Jethro and Jenny receive many letters.  The letters contain more details about battles than the newspapers have.

Ebenezer, Jethro’s cousin, ran away from the army.  Jethro wrote a letter to President Lincoln.  He asked Mr. Lincoln what would happen with a deserter.  President Lincoln wrote back, “The conditions of that decision are as follows: all solders improperly absent from their posts, who will report at certain points designated by local recruit offices by April 1, will be restored to their respective regiments without punishment except forfeiture of their pay and allowances for the period of their absence.” Jethro then told Eb what to do.

As Jethro grows he receives more responsibility for the farm.  When Jenny is old enough she goes to Washington D. C. to marry Shadrach. Shadrach was Jethro’s former teacher who joined the army and was injured. At the end of the book, Jethro’s relatives begin to come back one by one, all except for Tom, who died in the war.

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