The sun smiled, soft and warm, on Franklin County; that late, summer day;
whistling Yankee songs, the Troop marched south, past old Winchester Town;
relaxed, yet keeping careful watch for un-horsed Rebel Cavalry
in wait, amongst the Golden Rod that cloaked The Yellow and The Grey;
Spencers cocked; their eyes, alert... the pickets careful, made their way
all through the Golden clusters which, in brushing; showered pollen down.
He was so young; upon his coat of blue, his Sergeant's chevrons shone.
His eyes were old beyond their years from seeing horror of it all.
He held small hope of better days; most of his comrades were long gone,
since they first went a'soldiering; killed here, and there... one, by the one,
and, soon enough, perhaps, his turn to lie, all bloating in the sun,
and not to see, back home in Vermont; leaves burn gold in early Fall.
But, as he wandered in his thoughts; from out the corner of his eye...
a tiny movement over there... he drew his Colt Dragoon, full swift,
and there! again... a glimpse of grey; firing twice... a faint, pale cry;
a sound, not much like Johnnie Reb; so, through the Golden Rod, knee high,
he careful, strode; and, there... a crumpled figure... grey, most still did lie.
He reached down to the Rebel cloak; The Yellow and The Grey... did lift.
And there, he saw a Gingham gown; a girl, with golden-yellow hair;
little more then, than a child... sixteen; perhaps, just seventeen,
with blood upon her shoulder...
in the Golden Rod, all laying there...
the gun... a four-gauge squirrel flintlock; just a toy.
In deep despair,
he turned her gently over, and she whispered, with defiant stare,
'Despatch me then, you Yankee Pig... but, just be swift; and make it clean.'
Her eyes were hard... they held no fear... the deepest grey, like rain-washed sea.
Just like his baby sister's. This one was no Rebel Dixie girl.
The cloak she wore... The Yellow and The Grey... no Cavalry, was she;
the cloak-coat, many sizes larger. This... a worrying mystery;
were the local folk about here, rising up? ... it could just be;
he watched her bite her lip, and whimper, soft... as sharp, the pain did curl.
He reached to her, and gently pulled aside the Gingham, there... to view
her wound; her shoulder shot clean through... his Colt Dragoon... a powerful gun.
He could not leave her here alone; abandonment held no virtue
for a Gentleman... but, he was just a Sergeant, making do;
and Gentlemen were Officers; a different breed... 'aye, that were true.
He lifted her up in his arms, and through the Golden Rod, walked on.
Back up the road, to where he knew, from passing... stood a cabin, rude,
built from logs of Willow Oak; but still enough for shelter, fair.
And shelter was what this girl needed, if her chance were to stand good,
for, though the ball were out of her... her wound, needs must, be cleaned; though crude
were such salves he had... no more than Battle dressings... herbs, long brewed.
But, they would have to be enough; if fever would not take her... there.
He laid her on an old low cot, and salved her wound, all neatly dressed;
and wrapped her warm about, in her old cloak... The Yellow and The Grey;
and gently asked of her, the reason why such danger she progressed
out on the road in ambush; and her answer was much, as he guessed.
Three brothers lost at Shiloh; and revenge she swore, in black detest
of Yankees; each, and every one... bushwhacking all who passed her way.
They talked a while; he gave her water from his canteen by his side.
Her eyes now looked upon him softer... softer than before, that day.
Then suddenly... a dreadful crash...
the cabin door kicked open wide...
Two Reb guerrillas standing there; two sawn-off shotguns, swift espied.
Her cry of 'Wait! '...
the flash and crash...
four barrels caught him in mid-stride
as he tried to give her distance from the shotguns' deadly spray.
And there, he died upon the floor of that rude hut in Tennessee;
not, for him... the golden, early Fall, in Vermont, far away.
She told them of his gentle kindness... tending her, so carefully;
and so, instead of leaving him to rot... they dug, quite willingly,
his grave, there by the wayside; where they laid him, wrapped most sturdily;
and, for his winding sheet...
The Yellow and The Grey.