The Aftermath

Chapter 22 – 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.

by Christopher Rudolph © 2015

General Longstreet General James Longstreet

Chapter 23 – 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 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 23

What do you think of this poem?