C.S.A. to G.A.R. A Waif on the Past
C. S. A. to G. A. R. a waif on the past.
Where brambles, chinquapins, blackberries grow,
Lines formed of boulders, rubble and stones,
We soldiers contested, which all the world know,
“The Blues,” “The Greys,” neither cowards nor drones,
Each fought on principle, both believed right;
Trenches we dug—to bury the dead,
Shoulder to shoulder we laid them at night,
All in their gory rags, placed foot and head.
Year after year maintained was this struggle.
The trenches were filled, and newer ones yawned,
The dead, being mustered by call of the bugle,
Within these pits were their bodies entombed;
No stone then marking the warrior’s grave,
No tears of woman bedewing the spot,
Silence! stark ruin, environing the brave,
On battle-fields left, to perish and rot.
Onward, still onward, this holocaust sweeping,
Scourge! Devasting the whole country through.
Sherman!—the Nero—-with firebrand leaping
Humanities confines, the South to undo;
Pillaging homesteads, and women defenceless,
Fatherless orphans assigning the winds,
His march for destruction, fierce savage, relentless,
History shames, and no precedent finds.
Butler! invoking his braves, demoniac,
To outrage, as did the Sabines of old;
Changed, since then’s rancor, the Federal bivouac
Merged into Union, and strengthened ten-fold;
Out-numbered, not “conquererd,” we Southrons return
Back to our cotton-fields, passive, resigned,
Driving the plow, hoeing corn in the furrow,
All of one spirit, one feeling, one mind.
Re-union, cemented by deeds in the past,
Heroic contestings for National Right;
Re-union established, one people to last,
Two rival armies united to fight;
Blues and Greys marching, life-blood of the land,
Legions now fused, should war call us out;
Long-tried defenders, drilled years to command
Victories, sweeping insurgents in rout.
Gettysburg—last of our battles recorded,
Whose valorous charges have ne’er been surpassed;
Doomed “A Lost Cause,” its death there awarded,
North and South divided, no longer should last;
The “fall back on Farmville,” a “dernier resort,”
“Confederate States” made sepulchre there,
The chivalric South, never conquered before,
Surrendered its all—in silent despair,
Since then, re-union, reconstruction abnormal,
The Blues and the Greys have frequently met;
Their greetings forged friendships, truthful, eternal,
The past both forgetting, or recalled with regret.
Not a sectional thought disturbs our repose;
As heroes we met, proud in our might,
Comrades in glory, no longer grim foes,
Charging the lines in the hottest of fight.
Their men, G. A. R., and our’s, C. S. A.,
Are fraternized armies—both now are one;
Each vies with the other, what part best to play,
Conveying the fact “Southern sentiment’s gone;”
It’s shown wherever a grave’s to be found,
In monuments, statues, cemeteries, stones;
Records there kept—not a man’s been disowned,
If proof can be brought they’re true soldiers’ bones.
In our eightieth year, still answering roll-call,
These thoughts we pen, ere last taps are given;
Falling in line—Right Section—Close order—
Abiding commands, when sent us from Heaven.
What’s chronicled here are statements de facto,
Nothing sensational, penned for effect,
It’s an old soldier’s record, who saw what he swears to,
His post still commanding in strength, firm, erect.
As fearless, as true, as duties in action
I welcome that soldier in Blue as a friend,
Never making distinction ‘twixt North and South section.
My rations share with him, and bunk, to the end;
Who passes his guard, be he Blue or a Grey,
Need never expect reprisal or wrong,
Hands having crossed in a soldierly way,
Is passport for rest in the Heavenly throng.