55 pages 1 hour read

Irene Hunt

Across Five Aprils

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1964

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Chapters 4-6

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary

After several losses, the tide of war starts to turn in the Union’s favor, thanks to General Ulysses S. Grant. “Unconditional Surrender Grant” is hailed as a hero by everyone, and many begin to optimistically expect that the war might be over by the end of the year.

Tom and Eb have left to join the Union army. John plans to enlist as soon as he has made arrangements for his family, and Shad intends to enlist after he has fulfilled his current teaching contract. The Creightons receive a letter from Tom, who was at the Battle of Fort Donelson, an important victory for the Union. Tom’s letter is not a cheerful one, however; he tells the family how several soldiers in his unit discarded their heavy blankets and coats to lighten their loads, and later when they ran into some cold weather, many of the boys froze to death. He ends his letter by telling Jethro that “bein a soljer aint so much” (50).

Ellen, upset by the letter, suggests that Jethro should go stay with Shad for the night. Jethro is excited because he’s not usually allowed to go on visits by himself. Before leaving, he talks to Jenny, who is frustrated because they all know Shad will be leaving soon, and her father still refuses to let her marry him.