I never thought much about the sheer numbers of American men who wore either the Blue or the Grey back during the Civil War. All I thought of while researching my genealogy roots is why did they have to be injured or die. What about their poor widows? And the children they left behind as they marched off to fight for their beliefs.
It also really didn't occur to me why I couldn't find my Yanks in the GAR post near the little town in which so many lived.
Today, I stumbled across a souvenir edition of the Pittsburgh Press from September 9, 1894. The number of stories, posts, and regimental histories combined with poetry and drawings is enough to have me reading for days. The men had all come to Pittsburgh for a grand reunion from many states. There's ton of history and names in these pages.
How many of my loving names which are only a memory will I find?
How many families suffered from the war? How many hearts were broken?
I submit to you the poem "For Freedom Died" found on pg 33 with the notation it was from the New York Evening Post.
"Forward!" was the word when day
Dawned upon the armed array.
"Fallen!" was the word when night
Closed upon the field of fight.
"Hurt, my boy?" "Oh, no! Not much!"
"Only got a little touch!"
"Forward!" was the word that flashed
Homeward, when the cannon crashed.
"Missing!" was the word sent home
When the shades of night had come.
"Fallen?" "Yes; he fell, they say,
In the fiercest of the fray!"
"Died last night!" the message said,
Thus the morrow's papers read.
One young heart that heard the word,
Fluttered like a wounded bird.
One was broken! Bowed her head
"Mother! Mother! Mother's dead!"
Two green graves we'll deck to day,
Son's and mother's side by side,
None will dare to tell us "Nay!"
Both for right and freedom died.
While we honor him who fell
In the fiercest of the fray,
We will honor her as well
Lying by his side today.
Let the flowers forever fair,
Bloom above our fallen braves,
While the angels guard them there,
Glory lingers o'er their graves.
Long ago one sweet soul
Entered her Gethsemane,
Death to her the greatest goal,
As it must to many be!
But life lingers Oh! so long!
And the years so weary grow!
Tears have choked her heart's sweet song,
Dimmed those eyes that used to glow!
Oh! the bleeding, broken hearts,
Living long their lingering death,
Pierced by countless cruel darts,
Smothered sobs beneath each breath.
Comrades! Call the roll again!
Write their name on glory's page!
Whose who bore the grief and pain,
Fiercer far than battle's rage!
When they lie there side by side,
Dearer to him than his life,
Mother, sister, sweetheart, bride,
Or his dear, devoted wife.
And you deck his grave again,
Write her name- but not beneath!
By her agony and pain
Crown her grave with fairest wreath!
Angels called the roll again,
Wrote her name above the stars
For her patient faith in pain,
Deeper far than battle scars.
Three green graves we deck today,
This the third, where lies his bride-
None will dare to tell us "Nay!"
For these three for freedom died!
Take some time to dig through these pages. It's a tear jerker you don't want to miss.
Oh- and here's a picture of cousin William James GLENN. You can read more about him on an earlier blog: I am Simply a Survivor.
Below the drawing of GLENN is William H H LEA, the brother of my 2g-uncle, Cassius LEA.
Sept 9, 1894
Tip of the hat to cousin David for sending me to this newspaper date to find the drawing of WJ GLENN.
Ahh, genealogy. Tis grand to find the family history so intertwined with that of our great country. Tis humbling to know my kin have fought for this country since its beginning. My thoughts and prayers go to all veterans and the ones they leave behind. Thank you.
©2011 AS Eldredge