previous next
[31]
     And the elements were waging
Ruthless war — amid that gale.

But the sentinels kept pacing--
     Pacing — up and down their track;
While the storm-king still kept tracing
     Snowy ridges — front and back.
Ah! that air was deathly frigid,
     And the sleet came tempest-tost!
But the orders out were rigid--
     “Not a man must quit his post.”

For, in front, (we'd had the warning,)
     Massed, in force, the rebels lay,
Yet we looked for--prayed for morning,
     Though 't should prove our final day!
Hours passed. One watcher, weary--
     Faltered, halted, breathed a moan;
Then, amidst the darkness dreary,
     Failed — and sank to earth, alone.

When the gray light broke, at dawning,
     Calm, beneath a friendly tree--
Blanched, and still, lay Harry Corning!
     Sleeping on his post--was he?
Surely, no! A soldier braver
     Never met or charged the foe.
Such true hearts are few! And never
     Could he fail in duty so.

Forward!” came the word. We lifted
     Quickly up his stiffened form,
Round it wreaths of snow had drifted,
     But his heart no more was warm.
He had frozen, dead — on picket.
     Dreadful fate was this, alack!
And we laid him 'neath the thicket,
     Where he died--en bivouac.

In camp, near the Rapidan, Va., first division, Second corps, January, 1864.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Rapidan (Va.) (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Harry Corning (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: