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Proud of his boy and his ticket, said he, “A new morsel
of fame We'll lay on the candidate's altar"--and christened the
child with his name.
5. Oh, what have I done, a weak woman, in what have I
meddled with harm, (Troubling only my God for the sunshine and rain on
my rough little farm,) That my plowshares are beaten to swords, and whet
ted before my eyes, That my tears must cleanse a foul nation, my lamb be a
6. Oh, 'tis true there's a country to save, man, and 'tis true
there is no appeal, But did God see my boy's name lying the uppermost
one in the wheel ? Five stalwart sons has my neighbor, and never the lot
upon one ; Are these things Fortune's caprices, or is it God's will
that is done?
7. Are the others too precious for resting where Robert is
taking his rest, With the pictured face of young Annie lying over the
rent in his breast ? Too tender for parting with sweet-hearts ? Too fair to
be crippled or scarred ? My boy! Thank God for these tears, I was growing so
bitter and hard !
* * * * * * * * * 8. Now read me a page in the Book, Harry, that goes in
your knapsack to-night, Of the eye that sees when the sparrow grows weary and
falters in flight; Talk of something that's nobler than living, of a Love
that is higher than mine, And faith which has planted its banner where the Heav
enly camp-fires shine.
9. Talk of something that watches us softly, as the shadows
glide down in the yard ; That shall go with my soldier to battle, and stand with
my picket on guard. Spirits of loving and lost ones—watch softly with Harry
to-night, For tomorrow he goes forth to battle to arm him for
Freedom and Right !
LII.-A SOLDIER'S FUNERAL.
A. H. QUINT.
1. The first funeral at which I officiated was at Harper's Ferry, while our regiment occupied that post. There had been brought into our hospital a soldier of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania—then on its way home at the expiration of its three months' service-whom that regiment left with us one afternoon as they passed through the place. That evening, as I passed at a late hour through the hospital, I noticed this new face, and on inquiry found the facts. He was sick with typhoid fever, very sick. Little more than a boy in years, he was to me, then, nameless, not one of ours; but he was a suffering soldier, and may God bless every one of such.
2. I did not press him to speak, but he recognized the name of our Savior, and looked up as if waiting to hear. It was too late to question, too late for human comfort. I dared say little, but I could not but think that some friends, father, mother, perhaps a yet closer one, whom I never saw, and doubtless never shall see, whose very residence I know nothing of, might be glad to know that some of the blessed promises of our Lord were whispered in his ear, and that a few words of prayer asked for the soul of this dying man, whose hand I held, the favor of our Father and our Savior. That night he died.
3. He was buried the next evening in the way of soldiers, which, to one unaccustomed to the sight, is deeply interesting. A suitable escort (for a private, eight rank and file, properly commanded) is formed in two ranks opposite to the tent of the deceased, with shouldered arms and bayonets unfixed. On the appearance of the coffin, the soldiers present arms. The procession then forms, on each side of the coffin three bearers, without arms; immediately preceding are the eight soldiers, with arms reversed (the musket under the left arm, barrel downward, and steadied by the right hand behind the back); in front is the music, than whose dirge no sadder sounds ever fell upon my ear, as they proceed to the place of burial.
4. With slow and measured step, and muffled drum, they move. At the grave, the coffin is placed upon one side, the soldiers resting upon their arms, the muzzle upon the foot, the hands clasped upon the butt, and the head bowed upon the hands. The chaplain, who has walked in the rear of the coffin, conducts the burial service; "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Three volleys are fired over the grave, and the last kindness to the comrade is over. The graveyard left, immediately the band strike up a cheerful air, and take their way back to camp and to living duties.
5. It was thus we buried the stranger-soldier. He had no friend who knew him there. No kindred wept by the side of the grave. His bed was made alone, in a deserted graveyard, on the bold cliff that overlooks the two rivers united in the mighty stream which pours its affluence into the Atlantic. But the soldiers subdued their roughness, and laid him down tenderly. The frequent oath was unheard. The solemn silence was scarcely broken by the low words of command.
6. When the sharp volleys echoed up and down the valleys, the shadows had already fallen on the lordly rivers, the Potomac and Shenandoah, rolling by, far below us ; but the gorgeous evening sunlight was richly clothing the dark green forests of both Maryland and Virginia heights, towering over us. His grave was cut in a hard and rocky soil ; but out of that soil the evergreen was thriving and the wild flowers perfumed the air. .
7. It was on the very day his regiment was mustered out of service, that we buried him; and turning backward to our fragile homes, we found the order already given, “ Ready to
march ;” and soon we struck our tents, and forded the dark and foaming river which separated the rebel from the loyal State. He had forded a darker and rougher river, which, we hoped as we left him, no longer kept him in a world of sin, and out of the land of perfect peace. And so will throngs be buried, in this sad and mournful war. But out of the great clouds of private sorrow will rise the triumph of our country's glory.
LIII.-AFTER THE BATTLE.
There's more blood to see than this stain on the snow!
2. You're his wife ; you love him—you think so; and I
Am only his mother : my boy shall not lie
3. YOU WILL GO! then no faintings ! Give me the light,
And follow my footsteps !—My heart will lead right!
4. More! more! Ah! I thought I could nevermore know
Grief, horror, or pity for aught here below
Did they think I cared then to see officers stand
5. Why, girl, do you feel neither reverence nor fright,
That your red hands turn over towards this dim light These dead men that stare so ? Ah, if you had kept Your senses this morning ere his comrades had left, You had heard that his place was worst of them all —
Not mid the stragglers—where he fought he would fall ! 6. There's the moon through the clouds : Oh! Christ, what
a scene! Dost thou from thy heavens o'er such visions lean And still call this cursed world a footstool of thine? Hark! a groan; there, another-here in this line Piled close on each other.—Ah, here is the flag, Torn, dripping with gore-Pah! they died for this rag!
7. Here's the voice that we seek-Poor soul, do not start :
We're women, not ghosts.—What a gash o'er the heart!
the dead !
8. But, first, can you tell where his regiment stood ? Speak, speak, man, or point !—'twas the Ninth !-Oh,
the blood Is choking his voice ! what a look of despair ! There, lean on my knee, while I put back the hair From eyes so fast glazing—Oh, my darling, my own, My hands were both idle when you died alone !
9. He's dying-he's dead !-close his lids—let us go.
God's peace on his soul !—If we only could know