Chapter 23

by Christopher Rudolph © 2015

Chapter 23 – This poem, General Longstreet Night before 3rd Day, focuses on what General Longstreet saw that night after the 2nd day of battle. He goes to Lee’s headquarters and finds Confederates celebrating as if they had won that day. In Longstreet’s mind they had really lost. General J.E.B Stuart is also there. Some call for a Court Martial, for his absence the last few days has really hurt the Confederate’s war effort.

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General James Longstreet

Chapter 23 – General Longstreet Night Before 3rd Day

 

Just back of the line

Hospital an open field

Wounded rebels lay moaning

Surgeon’s saws did wield

 

For when a minié ball struck

Tearing muscle, shattering bone

Limbs were removed

Too gangrene prone

 

Longstreet wandered the field

The night gloomy dark

Heard screaming cries

Campfires flickered and sparked

 

Silently he mourned

For the dead and forsaken

No matter how hard they fought

Those hills could not be taken

 

Longstreet mounted his horse

In the dark rode

To General Lee’s headquarters

On the Cashtown Road (Chambersburg Pike now U.S. 30)

 

As he approached he smelled

Whiskey and roasting meat

Heard joyous singing

Bands and drums beat

 

Shouting congratulations to Longstreet

Hats high were tossed

They didn’t seem to understand

That they really had lost

 

Civilians and journalists

Gathered around Lee

General J.E.B Stuart was there

Back from his riding spree

 

Dressed in soft gray

Arms butternut braided

Stuart’s cavalry he bragged

Successfully raided

 

But other officers raged

Stuart had wasted precious time

Court Martial in order

He must pay for his crime

 

But Lee wouldn’t do it

He needed Stuart still

More battles to fight

And they must take those hills

 

Pickett also had arrived

With five thousand fresh men

When Sun meets the day

They will attack once again

 

Go to Chapter 24

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