Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I just wanted to give my thanks to all the veterans out there. And take a moment to remember the many soldiers who gave their lives so that we might live in freedom today.

I always make a point of visiting cemeteries during my battlefield treks. At nearly every cemetery I see some reference to Theodore O'Hara's poem "Bivouac Of The Dead" The full text can be found at http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/bivouac.htm, but here are the first few lines:

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
No rumor of the foe's advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow's strife
The warrior's dreams alarms;
No braying horn or screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.
Here is a picture from the Andersonville National Cemetery. This is a truly moving place. The graves shown here are all Civil War dead, all died in the prison.

3 comments:

Don said...

Nick,

A bit more about Theodore O'Hara, given your fondness for the battle of Shiloh.

Theodore O'Hara wrote the poem for the Kentuckians killed at the battle of Buena Vista. At the time he was serving as an assistant quartermaster, and was honorably discharged after the war.

He was appointed one of the captains of the 2nd US Cavalry when it was formed in 1855, though he resigned a year later and returned to civilian pursuits.

It would have been during this year, however, that he made the acquaintance of the regiment's colonel, Albert S. Johnston. When the Civil War broke out, he served as a colonel in the staff of the Confederate army. He was an aide de camp and assistant adjutant general to Johnston, carrying orders for him on the field of Shiloh when the general received his mortal wound. O'Hara returned to Johnston's side just after he expired, and accompanied his remains to New Orleans. After that he seems to have disappeared.

Nick said...

Don,
O'Hara served on Breckinridge's staff for awhile, at least through Stones River. After that I lost track though it appears he was with Joe Johnston, probably as part of the staff.
--Nick

Joshua said...
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