Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ball's Bluff

A Reverie
(October, 1861)

Civil War Drum Corps
Civil War Drum Corps


One noonday, at my window in the town,
I saw a sight -- saddest that eyes can see --
Young soldiers marching lustily
Unto the wars,
With fifes, and flags in mottoed pageantry;
While all the porches, walks, and doors
Were rich with ladies cheering royally.

Army of the Potomac under General George B. Mcclellan Retreating from the Chickahominy in 1862
Army of the Potomac under General George B. Mcclellan

Retreating from the Chickahominy in 1862

They moved like Juny morning on the wave,
Their hearts were fresh as clover in its prime
(It was the breezy summer time),
Life throbbed so strong,
How should they dream that Death in a rosy clime
Would come to thin their shining throng?
Youth feels immortal, like the gods sublime.

Flags, soldiers, and gun smoke during a Civil War reenactment by Kenneth Garrett
Flags, soldiers, and gun smoke during a Civil War reenactment
Firing Upon the Union by Allen Carter Redwood
Firing Upon the Union

Weeks passed; and at my window, leaving bed,
By night I mused, of easeful sleep bereft,
On those brave boys (Ah War! thy theft);
Some marching feet
Found pause at last by cliff's Potomac cleft;
Wakeful I mused, while in the street
Far footfalls died away till none were left.
Herman Melville

A Civil War era gravestone marked unknown by Kenneth Garrett
A Civil War era gravestone marked unknown


On October 21, 1861, Federal troops undertook a disastrous raid against the Confederates stationed along the Potomac at Ball's Bluff, Virginia, and lost one-thousand men in the ensuing massacre.


Mimi

10 comments:

maranatha777 said...

Being a citizen of Manassas, VA, where the Battle of Bull Run was fought, this post was especially poignant for me!

Thank you for posting this!!!

Kate

Mike Golch said...

Mimi,I thank you for such a great post.

Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

Lisa said...

Thank you for this Interesting post and I loved the photo's.

Lille meg said...

Thank you for this post, and for the last!
By the way, it was good to read that the missing girl was found safe.
We hear so much about things like that now. In Sweeden a 10 year girl was killed. She was found, the killer told the police where she was.
God bless you!

Maxine said...

This poetry really grabs the heart. It was such a sad war. But then war always is, isn't it?
Mimi, your music is so very lovely. I just listened for a while as I cooked my dinner and my daughter called and asked where that beautiful music was coming from.

Ruthie said...

Where do you find all those wonderful pictures? Love the poems, too. Thanks for visiting my site.
Smiles!

Cathy said...

Beautiful post, Mimi ~ War is so sad. And your music is really pretty.

Sharon said...

How sad. Thank you for the interesting post.

Hugs, Sharon

Jodi said...

Herman Melville - Brian will have to read this poem. He is a big Melville fan.