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[147]

‘The wintry blast goes wailing by’ Like a vision evoked by Gordon McCabe's verse rises this encampment of the Forty-fourth New York on the Virginia plains. The snow that covers the foreground suggests of itself the faint smoke that rises from the Camp and hovers like a veil over the hillside beyond. One may suppose that ‘the owl, for all his feathers is a-cold,’ and that hares go limping through the frozen grass. Yet it is not so much the effort to keep warm amid the bleak surroundings that brings gloom to the soldier's heart. It is rather the emotions which the Southern poet has expressed in Tennysonian stanzas. Distant from home, or with no home to return to, the soldier feels the loss of those domestic relations which fill life with warmth and hope. The patriotism that leads to enlistment, or the ardor that springs from war's wild alarms, must sooner or later give way for a time to the simple human emotions that even a child can share and understand. ‘East, west, home's best.’

 

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