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The following poem was written by William McCarter in honor of his fallen comrade, Lieutenant Christian Foltz.  It appeared in The North American on March 29, 1880.

 

THE DEAD VOLUNTEER

 

On the burial of a volunteer soldier, Sunday evening, December 14, 1862, of the Army of the Potomac, who was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., on Saturday, December 13, 1862.

'Tis eve, one brightly beaming star,

Shines from the eastern heavens afar,

To light the footsteps of the brave,

Slow marching to a comrade's grave.

The cold north wind has sunk to sleep,

The sweet south breathes so low and deep,

The martial clang is heard, the tread

Of those who hear the noble dead.

And whose form the stark and cold,

Thus ready for the loosened mould,

That's stretched upon so rude a bier,

Thine, soldier; thine, the volunteer.

Poor volunteer! The shot, the blow,

Of rebel bullet laid thee low,

Few may thy early loss deplore,

Thy battle done, thy journey o'er.

Alas, no fond wife's arm caressed,

Thy cheek no tender mother pressed,

No living man was near thy side,

"Save one," for whom thou bravely died.

Yes, volunteer, you died at noon,

Next evening came the small platoon,

And when they laid thee down to rest,

Placed sods upon thy manly breast.

Thy name and fate shall fade away,

Forgotten since that dying day,

And never on the roll of fame,

May be inscribed thy humble name.

Alas! Like thee, how many more,

Lie cold on Rappahannock's shore,

How many green, forgotten graves,

Are bordered by its turbid waves.

Sleep, soldier, sleep, from sorrow free,

And pain, and strife, 'tis well with thee!

'Tis well, though not a single tear

Laments the buried volunteer.

 

 

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