The Civil War

Exploring the poetry and music of the Civil War. This is a small collection of images and works that attempt to convey different aspects of the great American struggle against slavery, injustice, and cultural identity,    There are five poems from the Civil War Era featured in this collection.

Dear comrades on my brow the hand of death is cast, My breath is growing short, all pain will soon be past; My soul will soar away to that bright land of bliss, Far from the pain and woe of such a world as this. 2. I left my home and friends to battle with the foe, To save the Southern land from misery and woe; I gave my life my all (oh! not to win a name, Or have it e'en enrolled upon the scroll of fame.) 3. Not so, I only wished a helper brave to be To save the glorious South from cruel tyranny; My soul with ardor burned the treacherous foe to fight, And take a noble stand for liberty and right. 4. But oh! how weak is man! It was not God's decree, That I should longer live a helper brave to be, Before another day I shall be with the dead, And 'neath the grassy sod will be my lonely bed. 5. And should you see the friends that nurtured me in youth, Tell them I tried to walk the ways of peace and truth; O! tell my mother kind the words that she has given, Have led her wayward child to Jesus and to heaven. 6. Farewell! farewell! my friends my loving comrades dear, I ask you not to drop for me one bitter tear; The angels sweetly stand and beckon me to come, To that bright land of bliss that heavenly realm my home. MARYLAND.
"The Blue and The Grey" by Francis Miles Finch By the flow of the inland river, Whence the fleets of iron have fled, Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver, Asleep are the ranks of the dead:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Under the one, the Blue; Under the other, the Gray. These in the robings of glory, Those in the gloom of defeat, All with the battle-blood gory, In the dusk of eternity meet:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Under the laurel, the Blue; Under the willow, the Gray. From the silence of sorrowful hours, The desolate mourners go, Lovingly laden with flowers, Alike for the friend and the foe:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Under the roses, the Blue; Under the lilies, the Gray. So, with an equal splendor, The morning sun-rays fall, With a touch impartially tender, On the blossoms blooming for all:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day Broidered with gold, the Blue; Mellowed with gold, the Gray. So, when the summer calleth, On forest and field of grain, With an equal murmur falleth The cooling drip of the rain:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Wet with the rain, the Blue; Wet with the rain, the Gray. Sadly, but not with upbraiding, The generous deed was done. In the storm of the years that are fading No braver battle was won:— Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Under the blossoms, the Blue; Under the garlands, the Gray. No more shall the war-cry sever, Or the winding rivers be red: They banish our anger forever When they laurel the graves of our dead! Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the Judgment Day:— Love and tears for the Blue; Tears and love for the Gray.
ALABAMA CENTENNIAL, by Naomi Long Madgett They said, "Wait." Well, I waited. For a hundred years I waited In cotton fields, kitchens, balconies, In bread lines, at back doors, on chain gangs, In stinking "colored" toilets And crowded ghettos, Outside of schools and voting booths. And some said, "Later." And some said, "Never!" Then a new wind blew, and a new voice Rode its wings with quiet urgency, Strong, determined, sure. "No," it said. "Not 'never,' not 'later." Not even 'soon.' Now. Walk!" And other voices echoed the freedom words, "Walk together, children, don't get weary," Whispered them, sang them, prayed them, shouted them. "Walk!" And I walked the streets of Montgomery Until a link in the chain of patient acquiescence broke. Then again: Sit down! And I sat down at the counters of Greensboro. Ride! And I rode the bus for freedom. Kneel! And I went down on my knees in prayer and faith. March! And I'll march until the last chain falls Singing, "We shall overcome." Not all the dogs and hoses in Birmingham Nor all the clubs and guns in Selma Can turn this tide. Not all the jails can hold these young black faces From their destiny of manhood, Of equality, of dignity, Of the American Dream A hundred years past due. Now
Song of the Southern Woman Send across the solemn sea, To America the free, Wafted by breezes of the Spanish shore. O'Abraham Lincoln! we call thee to hark, To the song we are singing, we are Joan of Arc, While our brothers are bleeding, we fear not to bleed. We'll face the red horror should their be a need. By our brothers we'll stand on the terrible field, By our brothers we'll stand and ask for no shield. By our brothers we'll stand as a torch in the dark. To shine on thine treachery Joan of Arc. Behold the free plumes of the wild eagle dark. Behold them, and take our white brows for thy mark.We fear not thy cannon, we heed not thy drum, The deeper thy thunder the stronger we come.
Untitled Poem, by George Henry Boker Blood, blood! The lines of every printed sheet Through their dark arteries reek with running gore; At hearth, at board, before the household door, 'T is the sole subject with which neighbors meet. Girls at the feast, and children in the street, Prattle of horrors; flash their little store Of simple jests against the cannon's roar, As if mere slaughter kept existence sweet. O, heaven, I quail at the familiar way This fool, the world, disports his jingling cap; Murdering or dying with one grin agap! Our very Love comes draggled from the fray, Smiling at victory, scowling at mishap, With gory Death companioned and at play. --from Poems of the War (Boston, Ticknor & Fields, 1864)
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