The March of the 18th by Art D'Alessandro | Script Revolution

The March of the 18th

In 1864 six invalid soldiers of the Union's 18th Regiment battled the elements, disabilities, and a band of scavenging marauders, as they marched 25 miles into history.



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Novel of the same name by Kevin Horgan

The fate of the Union Army’s Veteran Reserve Corps rests on the courage of its soldiers crippled by the war, whose only desire is dignified service, even after harrowing personal sacrifice. To that end, General Grant appoints Colonel Jon Time, a man physically beaten by the war, to a new post, as commander of VRC's 18th Regiment, which will allow Time and the invalid soldiers under him to serve effectively, thereby freeing the able-bodied for combat. Time is only too happy to take on the assignment, as he was certain Grant was planning to send him home, a fate worse than death for this career soldier.

Sergeant Abram Kuriger, a battle hardened senior enlisted man, is reunited in the 18th with his friend and former commander, Colonel Time, who considers himself lucky to have Kuriger serving with him and quickly promotes him to First Sergeant. Both men have been permanently crippled by the war, but are determined to continue to serve with honor and do what they can to assure victory for the union.

Lieutenant William Tecumseh Anderson has always struggled with armed conflict, so much so that he is referred to with disdain as Lt. “Teacup” by men serving under him, even after he has proven his mettle by continuing to serve after losing his hand. Anderson, a political appointee, communicates with his father, a tough former soldier in his own right, through letters home which reveal his doubts, insecurities and fear for the men under his command. In contrast, “Old Irish,” an older private of unknown background, revels in his expert marksmanship even after losing his foot, and becomes the regiment's go-to guy when they are sent down the Potomac in squall-whipped schooners to Belle Plain, to guard hundreds of Confederate prisoners. When an escape commences, it is Irish who puts a quick end to it.

Colonel Time intoned when the regiment first formed, "Alone we are invalid, together we are an army." And under his keen leadership, a camaraderie develops among the handicapped ranks, especially those who have suffered more than they inflicted: the legless Private, Cal Straw, who becomes the eyes for the blinded Private George “Thunder" Huntred, a giant with immense strength which belies his gentle nature. Thunder has never killed so much as a rabbit, but now he is pitted against the likes of near-starving and desperate rebel scouts and a gang of evil marauders led by the vicious Dogtooth and Red Beard, when the regiment is given their new assignment -- a 25 mile march to Port Royal where they will guard supply stocks.

During the course of the long, grueling march, the 18th, which now counts among its ranks, 8 year-old Henry Parker Two, a runaway slave whose family was murdered by Dogtooth and Red Beard, will lose two excellent soldiers while others will discover courage they never believed existed, as when Anderson chases down Red Beard and puts a final end to his cruel violence in roiling waters where he nearly perishes himself. But in an act of bravery and sheer will, Cal, sitting on the rocks in a violent storm, shouts directions to Thunder who swims out in total darkness, finds and saves Anderson.

It is historical fact that after two days of marching at speeds no greater than one mile per hour, only 42 of the 166 officers and men who arrived at Port Royal were able to stand and answer roll call the next morning. The soldier of the 18th lived to perform his duty for country and brethren, and to give his life greater purpose even in the darkest of moments. The invalid soldier is today a living monument to our freedom.

Submitted: October 20, 2021
Last Updated: October 28, 2022

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The Writer: Art D'Alessandro

Art D'Alessandro was graduated summa cum laude from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida where he was the recipient of both top prose and poetry writing awards. He co-founded and ran The Maile School, one of the southeast’s most highly regarded talent training facilities for over 20 years before its sale in 2004. The school's alumni include Mandy Moore, Spencer Locke, Norm Lewis, Arielle Kebbel and two Miss Americas. His love of film has led to over forty screenplays bearing his name as writer, including “THE FINAL SEASON” starring Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Tom Arnold and Rachael Leigh Cook. Directed by David Mickey Evans, “The Sandlot,” TFS premiered at the Tribeca Film Fesitval, hit 1... Go to bio
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