Attorney David Crist receives a note from his secretary that his uncle wishes David to come to Holy Ground, his uncle’s farm. During the drive from Louisville to Holy Ground, near Munfordville, Kentucky, David reflects on the stories his grandfather told him when he was a child about the Civil War.
When David arrives at his uncle and aunt’s home at Holy Ground, no one answers his knocks on the screen doors. He carefully searches the entire house, but finds no trace of his uncle and aunt.
Seventy-three years earlier during the Battle of Munfordville in 1862 between the Union and Confederate forces, Corporal Joshua Applegate discovers a wagon containing a chest filled with $1 and $5 greenbacks. A Union major orders Joshua, a lieutenant, and a sergeant to deliver the chest in the wagon to the quartermaster in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
When the lieutenant is accidentally killed by falling from his horse, the sergeant suggests that he and Joshua hide the chest and greenbacks. The sergeant lowers the chest to Joshua, who has gone down a very deep hole to hide the payroll chest. The sergeant pulls the rope up, intending to strand Joshua, letting him die of thirst. However, Joshua manages to escape. That night Joshua smashes in the head of the sergeant while he sleeps.
Returning to his unit, Joshua participates in the Battle of Munfordville. He takes part in the Union’s advance into the south, and three years later in Atlanta is discharged. His struggle between enjoying the hidden wealth and his remorse in being a murderer and thief leads to his redemption and, seventy-three years later, explains the mysterious disappearance of David’s aunt and uncle.
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