War and History Poetry posted September 12, 2010

This work has reached the exceptional level
Feeling the spirits on a Civil War battlefield

In Gettysburg

by Warren Rodgers

Stone monuments today stand tall
To honor men from every state
On rolling fields of Gettysburg
In regiments they met their fate

On miles of grassy hills and dales
They fought and died in bloody fights
Set free to find a pathway home
Their battered spirits roam the nights

In twilight hastened by the shade
Amidst the silent sprawling trees
Old spirits rise and soon instill
A stunning chill in every breeze

At Little Round Top's rocky dome
As daylight dies in every dell
They soldier in from north and south
Still searching for their place to dwell

They whistle down the stony paths
Through dusky woods to Devil's Den
Reciting their horrific tales
Of brutal death and mangled men

Where cannons roared in lines of fire
Bright poppies bloom on fields of tombs
To comfort each brave soldier's cries
And blanket stones where spirits loom

At graves where Lincoln staked his claim
For freedom and equality
His echoed words still share the wind
With souls who seek eternity

Their flesh has been reclaimed to dust
When death relieved their mortal pain
Discharged from duty long ago
In Gettysburg, they still remain



My poem is not meant to be a historical account of the Battle of Gettysburg. It is written about the feelings I had as I toured the various sites on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania some years ago.

Here is a little background on the Civil War and the Gettysburg Battlefield;
The Battle of Gettysburg occurred between July 1st and 3rd in 1863. A major battle about halfway through the American Civil War in which the north (The Union) fought against soldiers from the south (The Confederacy) mostly over the issue of slavery.
A total of over 50,000 soldiers from both sides were either killed, wounded, or captured during the costliest battle of the American Civil War. It has been estimated that close to 8,000 soldiers lost their lives during the three days of fighting.

On November 19, 1863 President Lincoln gave his famous "Gettysburg Address" speech while dedicating a cemetery in Gettysburg for soldiers from the north.

The locations in the poem; "Devil's Den" and "Little Round Top" are just two of the many actual sites on the battlefield.

Today, Gettysburg is a National Park and, to me, a very fascinating place to visit. A place I recommend for any American visiting the region.

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