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Gordon, H.L. (fl. 1861) [A soldier's poem]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06559.038 Author/Creator: Gordon, H.L. (fl. 1861) Place Written: Maryland Type: Autograph manuscript signed Date: 12 November 1861 Pagination: 4 p. ; 20.8 x 12.5 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06559.038 Author/Creator: Gordon, H.L. (fl. 1861) Place Written: Maryland Type: Autograph manuscript signed Date: 12 November 1861 Pagination: 4 p. ; 20.8 x 12.5 cm.

Writes from Camp Stone. Includes a poem entitled, "Lines on the death of my friend Louis Mitchell of Co. I 1st Regt Minnesota Vols: who was killed in a skirmish on the Virginia side of the Potomac. Oct. 21st 1861." Gordon's friend, Lewis Mitchell, was the only man killed in this battle. Describes his friend's death in detail in the poem, and states that he died an honorable death for the love of his country.

Sarah Perot Ogden was a Quaker from Philadelphia who took part in variety of philanthropic works such as assisting the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America, the Philadelphia Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and President of the Philadelphia Home for Incurables. Both Ogden and her husband, Edward H. Ogden, were strong supporters of the Union cause. During the Civil War Ogden volunteered in a military hospital where she made daily visits and her husband served as a Union soldier.

Lines on the death of my friend Louis Mitchell of Co. [I] 1st Regt Minnesota Vols: who was killed in a skirmish on the Virginia side of the Potomac Oct. 21st 1861. The events and circumstances are literally true.
We've had a fight a Captain said
Much rebel blood we've spilled
We've put the saucy foe to flight
Our loss - but a private killed!
"Ah, yes.'" said a sergeant on the spot
As he drew a long deep breath
Poor fellow, he was badly shot
Then bayoneted to death!"

When again was hushed the martial [inserted: din]
And back the foe had fled
They brought the private's body in
I went to see the dead.
For I could not think the rebel foe
('Tho under curse and ban)
[2] So vaunting of their chivalry
Could kill a wounded man.

A minie ball had broke his thigh
A frightful crushing wound
And then with savage bayonets
They had pinned him to the ground
One stab was through the abdomen
Another through his head
The last was through his pulseless heart
Done after he was dead.

His hair was matted with his gore
His hands were clenched with might
As though he still his musket bore
So firmly in the fight
He had grasped the foeman's bayonet
His bosom to defend!
They raised the coat cape from his face
My God! it was my friend!

Think what a shudder thrilled my heart
'Twas was but the day before
[3] We laughed together merrily
As we talked of day of yore
"How happy we shall be," he said
When the war is o'er and when
The rebels all subdued or dead
We all go home again!

Ah little he dreamed, that soldier have
(So near his journey's goal)
That God had sent a messenger
To claim his Christian soul!
But he fell like a hero fighting
And hearts with grief are filled
And honor is his, though our Chief shall [inserted: say]
"Only a private killed!"

I knew him well, he was my friend
He loved our Land and Laws
And he fell a blessed martyr
To the country's holy cause.
Soldiers our time will come most like
When our blood will thus be spilled
And then of us our Chief shall say
"Only a private killed."

[4] But we fight our country's battles
And our hopes are not forlorn
Our death shall be a blessing
To, "Millions yet unborn,"
To our children and their children
And as each grave is filled
We will but ask our Chief to say
"Only a private killed!"
H L. Gordon
1st. Regt Minn. Vols.
Camp Stone Md: Nov: 12th 1861

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