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50. the last Star: a Reminiscence of mine run.

by E. J. Adams.
[ “Here, Sergeant, take this star. It is the last of thirty-four from our old flag; the remainder are shot away in the eleven battles through which I have borne it — Malvern Hill, Chantilly, South-Mountain, Antietam, first and second Fredericksburgh, Gettysburghl, Falling Waters, Bristow Station, Rappahannock Station, and Mine Run. And if I am not permitted to take it to the ladies who gave it, perform the duty for me, and tell them it never left the field disgraced!” --Color-Sergeant Jefferson Foster, of the Fifty-ninth New-York volunteers, to Orderly G. S. Adams, of the Sixth New-York artillery.]

All quiet now the battle clash;
     No more the cannon's sound
Peals forth a requiem to the dead,
     Or shakes the corpse-strewn ground;
But gentle night hath drawn her veil
     O'er this sad scene of woe,
As if to hide from mortal ken
     A sight they dare not know.

From dawn of day till eve set in,
     The fearful contest waged;
Still vict'ry perched on neither flag,
     But brooded where the “tug” had raged.
Begrimed and weary, wet with gore,
     The separate armies lay
Upon their arms that solemn night,
     Early to start the strife next day.

Beneath a charred and shattered oak
     A color-sergeant lay,
And many a wide and gaping wound
     Told of his work that day.
But not alone upon the plain
     Was this youthful warrior left,
To be butchered by some thieving band
     Of humanity bereft.

“Squad, halt! and see who this man is.”
     “Friends!” the soldier yelled, ”'tis I!
Color of the Fifty-ninth,
     And not afraid to die!“
“Here's brandy, Jeff, 'twill do you good,
     Then p'haps you'll know your friends;
But on keeping calm and quiet now,
     Your recovery depends.”
. . . .

“Here, sergeant,” said the bleeding man,
     ”This star is all I've got
That yet remains of that old flag,
     I've borne through battles hot. [39]
If I should die of this slight wound--
     The trust is not misplaced--
Carry it back to those who gave,
     And say 'twas ne'er disgraced.

”Just there we met the ‘Catamounts’1
     From Alabama's wild,
Who dashed upon old Fifty-nine
     As if she were a child.
But soon they found us foemen good,
     Who worked with might and will,
And would not give one inch of ground--
     It was not in our drill!

”My poor old flag was torn to snreds,
     But still I held it high,
Determined that this tree itself
     Should run as soon as I.
Wounded and faint at last I fell
     Upon the reeking ground,
And feeling round for my dear flag,
     This, alas! is all I found.

”I crawled away to this old tree,
     To lay me down and die,
And thought of you all, my comrades,
     But did not think you nigh.
How good it is to meet once more
     Before I go away,
To march and carry a different flag,
     In the endless realms of day!

”Tell them I held--“ his head bowed down,
     As if nature claimed her own,
And they carried off the soldier,
     Thinking life had flown.
But he recovered slowly
     From wounds — a sad array--
And says he'll yet meet foemen
     To fight another day.

Wilkesbarre, April 13, 1864.

1 The Fourth regiment of Alabama infantry style themselves the “Catamounts;” and many other chivalry regiments have assumed corresponding “highfalutin” names, such as “Tigers,” “Squirrels,” “Dare-Devils,” etc.--Weekly Herald.

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