A Civil Soldier's Tale

"Lie still now, soldier", the Union General said,
As he knelt down beside the boy's bloody, wounded head.
The dying young lad, no more than fifteen, if a day,
Wore the blight of cannon, and being in its way.

The General swallowed hard, to fight back the pressing tears,
Before he gazed upon his soldier, now less limbs and gear.
"Is it b-bad? " the soldier asked, in a voice filled with fear.
"Not at all, " the General lied, knowing the boy had not a prayer.

"You'll soon be headin' home, " he continued in a whisper.
"Back to your mammy and your pappy, and your favorite dog, Kipper."
The soldier forced a smile and then closed his swollen eyes,
"Why Sir, I think I see them! Looks like ma baked me two pies."

The General shuddered knowing, the lad's folks died years ago,
And the dog named Kipper-killed in an avalanche of snow.
He only knew these things, since he had taken the boy in,
As this dying soldier's father had been the General's next of kin.

"This bloodshed has to stop" the General groaned and shook his head,
"Did our boys grow up together just to shoot each other dead? "
"Must be something I can do! " he shouted, rising to his feet,
To be silenced by a bullet as it grazed across his cheek.

The soldier took a breath, his head fell back- eyes open wide.
The General took his sword and laid it by the boy's side.
"Go now, son, " he said, "back to those you love, "
"And give them my regards; in fact give your pa a shove."

Sudden, in the distance, he heard another soldier's cry,
"The South just surrendered as stated by a Union spy! "
The General stood up slowly and brushed off his dusty knees,
Wiped away a single tear, returning to his company.


Copyright 2006/Shirley Petrandis

by Shirley Petrandis

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