The Mississippi in the Civil War Message Board

A poem for Halloween

Since Halloween is nearly on us, I wanted to share an appropriate poem - it was written by S. Newton Berryhill in his book, Backwood Poems. Berryhill was crippled by disease as a child and was unable to serve during the Civil War, but he was a strong supporter of the Confederacy. The brother he alludes to in the poem was William Berryhill, an officer in the 43rd Mississippi Infantry who was killed in 1864.

The Spectral Army

The deep-toned clock strikes twelve;
The winds are lulled to rest;
And the cuspate moon, long past her noon,
Sinks slowly in the west.

Like serpents on the ground
The length’ning shadows creep;
Each shrub assumes a phantom form
To eyes that can not sleep;

That can not sleep to-night
For the spirit’s wild unrest-
The grief for stricken mother-land
Which weights upon my breast;

Which weighs more heavy now,
While all is still around,
And the mind turns inward on itself,
Unswayed by sight or sound.

But hark! Upon the hills
A rustling sound is heard,
Like the noise of trees, when by the breeze
The frost-browned leaves are stirred.

And now a bugle-blast
And a muffled drum I hear;
And soon, dark moving lines of men
Upon the hills appear.

From every battle-field,
In solemn long array,
At the tap of the drum, they come - they come
The men that wore the gray!

The men that wore the gray –
That died our land to save –
Have heard the clanking of our chains,
And come from the silent grave.

The flag they loved so well
Above them floats once more;
And the starry cross shines bright again
As it shone in days of yore.
O, how my spirit yearns,
As many a once-loved face
Looks on me from the spectral lines
That move with measured pace!

My brother, brave and kind,
And ever to duty true,
One moment halts, and lifts his hand
To wave a last adieu.

On-On-still on they come,
Like the flow of a mighty stream;
And burnished guns and bayonets
In the silvery moonlight gleam.

The prancing steeds move by;
The cannon’s lumbering car;
Caisson, and ambulance, and all
The Oppurtenants of war.

Here Stonewall Jackson rides,
In the quaint old garb he wore,
When he hurled his ranks against the foe
On Shenandoah’s shore.

And Sidney Johnston there
His gleaming sabre draws –
The noblest man that ever died
For freedom’s holy cause.

On a snowy steed I see,
Robed in a sable gown,
The martyr Polk – blest man of God –
Wearing a starry crown.

Here Zollicoffer moves,
Calm as a summer morn;
And Patrick Cleburne – bravest son
Of the isle where he was born.

The Christian warrior Hill,
And Bee, together ride;
Stuart, Virginia’s chevalier,
And Ashby by his side.

Garnett and Hanson now
Upon the scene appear;
And Barksdale waves his sword, and smiles
As if the foe were near.

McCulloch rushes by,
And McIntosh the brave;
And Hatton leads the long brigade
That with him found a grave.

John Morgan comes – let foes,
Fear-stricken, hold their breath;
And Adams spurs the steed which leaped
Into the jaws of death.

The long, long spectral lines
At last have all passed by,
And the moon has dipped one silver horn
Beneath the western sky.

The shadows of the trees
Have mingled on the ground;
And faint and fainter on the hills
Now grows the rustling sound.

The roll of the muffled drum
In the distance dies away,
And the veil of night conceals from sight
The men that wore the gray.

O gallant men in gray!
Our country’s hope and pride!
Time can not mar the laurels green
Which crowned ye when ye died!

The cause for which ye bled,
Shall rise from the dust again;
The God is just in whom we trust –
Ye have not died in vain.

Messages In This Thread

A poem for Halloween
Re: A poem for Halloween; neat poem..!!!!
Re: A poem for Halloween; neat poem..!!!!