Poetry of Kansas

Midnight On The Battle Field.

'Tis midnight on the battle field,
The wind's low moan is chill,
Our army's on the march again,
After the battle of Chancellorsville;
The drum's slow beat
And weary feet
Tell of courage tried;
Brave souls, of honor born,
Their manly leader's pride.
The moonbeam's silvery gleam
Gilds with beauty that marl of death;
Hushed and silent now,
Is the angry foeman's breath;
All peaceful, still,
They slumber on the hill,
While the sentinel stars above
Look down in sorrow,
From seraph lands of love.
The prowling eat and hungry wolf
Have gathered on the mead,
They tear anew, in heaven's view,
Wounds of death that bleed;
Their famished jaws
And angry claws
Tear with a sensation sore
Flesh from the fairest form
A mother ever bore.
The sinless angels of the sky
Shudder such sights to see,
While some soldier's soul
Goes speeding away to the realms of eternity;
Alone in the darkness there,
Grown frantic with despair,
Some slowly-dying soul
Struggles the burial clods
From his bosom to roll.
Thus the cheerless night went by,
And the misty morning gray
Broke up in the dull sky,
Where the dead and dying lay;
While all along the line
Some shattered pine,
Or strong oaken hold,
Grim tales of war
Their story told.

__John Preston Canpell.

Poetical Works
John Preston Canpell
(Topeka: Geo. W. Crane & Company. 1885)
Pages 222-224

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September 6, 2002 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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