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[297] in which were treasured many of the poems that in this way became the common property of a good many people.

Of distinctly different quality from the poems already referred to, and all other ‘literary’ poems, are certain crude vernacular verses. With some of the characteristics of popular ballads, they had much currency in the camps. A writer in the Southern Bivouac (July, 1885) recalls and characterizes some of these as follows:

As the long contest dragged on, and war, losing much of its earlier illusions, became a stern, bitter, and exceedingly monotonous reality, these ‘high-toned’ lyrics were tacitly voted rather too romantic and poetical for the actual field, and were remitted to the parlor and the piano stool. The soldiers chanted in quite other fashion on the march or seated at the campfire. In these crude rhymes, some of them improvised for the moment, there was less of flourish but more of meaning, not so much bravado but a good deal more point. They were sappy with the homely satire of the camps, which stings friend and foe alike. Innumerable verses were composed and sung to popular refrains. The Army of Virginia and the Army of Tennessee had each its history rudely chronicled as fast as made in this rough minstrelsy. Every corps and command contributed some commemorative stanza. The current events of campaigns were told in improvised verse as rapidly as they occurred and were thereafter skillfully recited by the rhapsodist who professed to know the whole fragmentary epic.

Forms of such rhymed narratives may be seen in typical stanzas:

Marse Robert said, ‘My soldiers,
You've nothing now to fear,
For Longstreet's on the right of them,
And Jackson's in the rear.’

The Fourteenth Louisiana,
They charged 'em with a yell;
They bagged them buck-tailed rangers
And sent 'em off to hell.

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Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (1)

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Augustus Baldwin Longstreet (1)
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July, 1885 AD (1)
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