Monthly Archives: June 2018

THE DEAD DRUMMER BOY.

Midst tangled roots that lined the wild ravine,
Where the fierce fight raged hottest through the day,
And where the dead in scattered heaps were seen,
Amid the darkling forest’s shade and sheen,
Speechless in death he lay.

The setting sun, which glanced athwart the place
In slanting lines, like amber-tinted rain,
Fell sidewise on the drummer’s upturned face,
Where Death had left his gory finger’s trace
In one bright crimson stain.

The silken fringes of his once bright eye
Lay like a shadow on his cheek so fair;
His lips were parted by a long-drawn sigh,
That with his soul had mounted to the sky
On some wild martial air.

No more his hand the fierce tattoo shall beat,
The shrill reveille, or the long roll’s call,
Or sound the charges, when, in smoke and heat
Of fiery onset, foe with foe shall meet,
And gallant men shall fall.

Yet may be in some happy home, that one,
A mother, reading from the list of dead,
Shall chance to view the name of her dead son,
And move her lips to say, “God’s will be done!”
And bow in grief her head.

But more than this what tongue shall tell his story?
Perhaps his boyish longings were for fame.
He lived, he died; and so memento mori.
Enough if on the page of War and Glory
Some hand has writ his name.

Originally posted 2008-04-03 15:49:36.

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GENERAL ROUSSEAU.–

GENERAL ROUSSEAU relates the following incident of Shiloh:

Two days after the battle I walked into the hospital tent on the ground where the fiercest contest had taken place, and where many of our men and those of the enemy had fallen. The hospital was exclusively for the wounded rebels, and they were laid thickly around. Many of them were Kentuckians, of Breckinridge’s command. As I stepped into the tent, and spoke to some one, I was addressed by a voice, the childish tone of which arrested my attention: “That’s General Rousseau! General, I knew your son Dickey. Where is Dick? I knew him very well.” Turning to him, I saw stretched on the ground a handsome boy about sixteen years of age. His face was a bright one, but the hectic glow and flush on the cheeks, his restless manner, and his grasping and catching his breath as he spoke, alarmed me. I knelt by his side and pressed his fevered brow with my hand, and would have taken the child into my arms, if I could. “And who are you, my son?” said I. “Why, I am Eddy McFadden, from Louisville,” was the reply. “I know you, General, and I know your son Dick. I’ve played with him. Where is Dick?” I thought of my own dear boy, of what might have befallen him; that he, too, deluded by villains, might, like this poor boy, have been mortally wounded, among strangers, and left to die. My heart bled for the poor child; for he was a child; my manhood gave way, and burning tears attested, in spite of me, my intense suffering. I asked him of his father. He had no father. His mother. He had no mother. Brothers and sisters. “I have a brother,” said he. “I never knew what soldiering was. I was but a boy, and they got me off down here.” He was shot through the shoulder and lungs. I asked him what he needed. He said he was cold and the ground was hard. I had no tent nor blankets; our baggage was all in the rear at Savannah. But I sent the poor boy my saddle-blanket, and returned the next morning with lemons for him and the rest; but his brother, in the Second Kentucky regiment, had taken him over to his regiment to nurse him. I never saw the child again. He died in a day or two. Peace to his ashes. I never think of this incident that I do not fill up as if he were my own child.

Originally posted 2008-04-02 14:43:56.

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A JOKE ON A REBEL EDITOR.–

The editor of the Rebel Banner, published at Murfreesboro’ until Bragg’s retreat to Shelbyville, and afterwards hailing from the latter town, tells the following good story:

On Wednesday, the 31st of December, 1863, we went to the battle-field in search of glory and items.

While following up the charge of General McCown’s division, we met a body of prisoners moving to the rear, and at once struck up a conversation with them. Unfortunately, we were dressed in cerulean habiliments, and, upon attempting to leave, were ordered by the guard to remain where we were. With a smile of ineffable contempt, we drew from our pocket a pass; but what was our chagrin when we were accosted with, “I say, my boy, none of us can read; but that thar trick’s too old; and I’ll tell you another thing, yer infernal blue-bellied Yankee, if you try any more of them dodges, I’ll souse this thing into yer gizzard.”

Think of that, O ye tribe of brother quill-drivers? The editor of this paper, the leading journal of the South, to be called a Yankee, and to be accredited with possessing an azure abdomen.

Originally posted 2008-04-01 12:18:24.

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CAMP ANECDOTE.–

The Sergeant of the picket-guard being stationed near Pohick Church, Va., had his attention drawn to the tinkling of a cowbell in the bushes. With visions of new milk running through his head, he examined carefully, and to his intense astonishment made the discovery that as he advanced the cow-bell retreated. The Sergeant made a double quick retrograde movement, and immediately reported the affair to Colonel Hays. The Colonel secreted a squad of men in the woods, and the Sergeant again made himself conspicuous. He brushed about among the bushes, and the cow-bell approached. The squad soon had the satisfaction of seeing–not the cow, but a “Secesher” with a cow-bell hung to his neck, and a six shooter in his belt. When he got within easy range, and in sight of the squad, the Sergeant hailed him:

“I say, old fellow, would you rather go to the devil or to Washington?”

The squad at the same time rushed forward.

“To Washington, I reckon,” drawled the rebel.

“I ain’t clothed for a warm climate.”

And he accordingly delivered himself up.

Originally posted 2008-04-01 00:08:26.

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