Chapter 30

by Christopher Rudolph © 2015

Chapter 30 – This poem, General Longstreet The Aftermath, focuses on the Confederate retreat following the Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble charge. It turned out to be a total disaster for the Confederates. Of the 15,000 Rebels that stormed across the field only 50% survived unscathed. The rest were either killed, wounded, or captured.

220px-James_Longstreet General James Longstreet

Chapter 30 – General Longstreet – The Aftermath

 

Still sitting on the rail fence

He formally tried to pray

But the words wouldn’t come

Knew not what to say

 

He had watched the battle

Dissolve into nightmare

Fredericksburg in reverse

Total despair

 

They came slowly back

Stunned soldiers in shock

Nobody running

Stubbornly they walked

 

Shells still falling

Muskets dragging on the ground

Steadily moving 

Past the deadly mounds

 

In the retreating flood of men

Longstreet was a boulder in the stream

Men parting around him dazed

Like in a catatonic dream

 

A bloody man rode up on a horse

He screamed as his face contort

Captain Robert Bright of Pickett’s staff

He wanted more support

 

Longstreet shook his head

“Pull back,” he told Bright

“Nobody to send now

We must give up this fight”

 

Nine brigades went in

Only half the men returning

Piles of dead strewn everywhere

Copse of Trees still burning

 

Then Lee appeared

Riding his horse gray

If they could just go back in time

And start a brand new day

 

General Lee he still did honor

Tho’ it would never be the same

He was right and Lee was wrong

And this was not some kind of game

 

Then in a state of sheer terror

General Pickett arrived strained

Hair like a wilted flower

Uniform bloodstained

 

Lee told Pickett to form his division

Behind the ridge back to the rear

Pickett said, “Sir, I have no division”

So many had disappeared

 

Pickett fell down from his horse

Tears streaming down his face

Ranted and raved

For his soldiers to be replaced

 

But Lee could not fix it

There was nothing that could be done

He could not reverse death

Or the setting of the sun

 

He certainly regretted

The outcome of the assault

Bowing his head Lee said

“It was all my fault”

 

A rain storm arrived that night

Lee ordered a retreat

This time they lost

Must accept their defeat

 

Go to Chapter 31

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