EDITOR'S NOTE: The following poem, written anonymously, appeared in The Southern Bivouac, Vol. II, No. 7; pages 305-06.
Pelham, Of Alabama
Up to the forefront, spoke never a breath,
Up to the battle, the cannons and death,
Up by the fierce guns over the ford,
Rode young John Pelham, his hat on his sword.
Out spoke bold Stuart, our cavalry lord,
"Back to your guns, lad;" never a word
Uttered the gunner as onward he spurred,
On with the cavalry; no business there;
Backward the wind blew his bright yellow hair,
Black blew the battle smoke from the red fire,
Up rose the battle dust higher and higher;
Out rang the silver notes clear as a bell ,
Heard above the bursting of shrapnel and shell;
Out rang the orders from Fitz Lee, the brave,--
"Charge the left battery," " God ! 'tis his grave,"
On by the crashing balls, hissing ball, then --
Sabers and pistols and horses and men
Over the hill went, over the dead,
Fitz Lee and cavalry, Pelham ahead!
Down by the sulphur smoke to the red plain,
On the left battery Pelham is slain.
" Gently now comrades, take up the bier,
Bear it back quickly, the battle is near,"
Rein down the charger, muffle the tread,
"Weep, Light Artillery ," Pelham is dead.
Soft, let me look at the white, white face,
Fair, as of woman, all womanly grace;
Closed are the eyes that flashed on the field,
Broken the falchion that never would yield.
Still is the heart that beat for his land,
Hushed is the voice, and cold is the hand;
Never to ride with the ringing brigade;
Never to lead with the glittering blade;
Never to charge with the Red Cross again --
"Weep, Light Artillery!" Pelham is slain.
"Peace, Light Artillery!" 'Tis the hero we bear;
Brush back the threads of his bright, sunny hair.
"All hail ye, his comrades!" Stifle your grief!
"Look!" 'tis the face of your beautiful chief;
"Droop, Red Cross banner!" "Pitiless gun!"
"Peace!" It is the ashes of Chivalry's son!
"Weep, Alabama!" another of thine
Hath pillowed his soul at the ultimate shrine.
He passed from your midst to the valley of tears,
And left you the foot-prints of glorious years!
"Droop, Red Cross banner!" the gallant and brave
Slumbers but now, for the echoless grave.
Rein down the charger! Muffle the tread!
"Weep, Alabama !" John Pelham is dead.