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
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
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.
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.