previous next

[107]

The Private soldier.

Nor even here is our duty ended. Let still another monument rise, simple, majestic, grand, sky-piercing. Let but one device be carved upon it, a soldier lying dead upon his shield. Let it bear but one inscription—that placed by the Greeks, as the old heroic legend tells, on the memorial stone erected at Thermopylae. And let its summit be crowned by a figure in a faded and worn gray jacket, standing musket in hand at the post of duty.

A truer hero or more unselfish patriot never marched to battle than the Confederate private. He did not serve for pay, for he received a mere pittance for his service. He did not fight for glory, for history does not take care of him. He did not look for promotion, for he seldom rose above the ranks. He often left a starving family at home—he committed them to God and the charity of friends. He suffered cruelly from hunger and cold; with his faithful friend, his musket, he was always ready to forget the one and to overcome the other in the heat of battle. And when he fell and slept his last sleep in his soldier grave—

No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
     Nor in sheet, nor in shroud we wound him,
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
     With his tattered blanket around him.

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: