(Note from Sue:) My Mother, Nona Brummett Montgomery,
loved poetry and raised all of her eight children with daily recitals of
poems (and stories) of all sorts, from the well known to some that had
never been written down. She memorized the two here about the Civil
War when she was a school child in Kentucky early in the 1900s.
brother Steve had the great foresight to make a recording of Mom and her
poetry and I've transcribed these from that recording. I don't know
their origins, but they are quite old.
(The pictures on this page are of Kentucky wild
Below these two poems, I'm also printing
Far up the lonely mountainside my wandering footsteps
The moss lay thick beneath my feet; the pines sighed
The trace of a dismantled fort lay in the forest nave.
in the shadows near my path, I saw a soldier's grave.
The bramble wrestled with the weed upon this lonely
A simple headboard, rudely writ, had rotted to the ground.
raised it with a reverent hand, from dust it's words to clear.
had blotted all but these, "A Georgia Volunteer."
heard the Shenandoah roll down the rocky glen below.
I saw the
Alleghenies rise up toward the realm of snow.
The Valley Campaign rose
to mind, it's leader's name, and then,
I knew the sleeper had been one
What fights he fought, what wounds he wore are all unknown
Remember on this lonely grave there is not even a
That he fought well, and bravely too, and held his country
We know, else he would never have been a Georgia
sleeps. What need we question now if he was wrong or right.
knows 'ere this whose cause was just in God the Father's sight.
wields no war-like weapons now, returns no foe-man's thrust.
but a coward would revile an honest soldier's dust.
Roll on old Shenandoah, proudly down thy rocky
Above thee lies the grave of one of Stonewall Jackson's
Beneath the cedar and the pine in solitude austere,
unnamed, forgotten, lies a Georgia Volunteer.
Stonewall Jackson ca. 1855
Jonathan Jackson lived in Lexington, VA from 1851-1861, while he was a
professor of Natural Philosophy and an instructor of artillery tactics at
the Virginia Military Institute. During that decade Jackson joined the
Lexington Presbyterian church, married, bought the only home he ever
owned, and lived quietly as a private citizen. In April, 1861, Jackson
rode off to war. He never returned to Lexington alive. Following the first
battle of Manassas, T.J. Jackson became widely known by the nickname
"Stonewall." Jackson earned lasting fame for his leadership of
Confederate forces, especially during the Valley campaign of 1862.
"Stonewall" Jackson died in May, 1863, as a result of wounds received at
Two soldiers lying where they fell upon the reddened
Daytime foes, at night in peace, breathing their lives
Brave hearts had stirred each manly breast,
fate only made
And lying, dying, side by side, a softening feeling
"Our time is short," one faint voice said.
done our best.
Today we've been in battle. But tomorrow we'll be
Forgive each other while we may, life's but a weary
And right or wrong, the morning sun will find us dead the
Life lies behind. I might not care for only just my
But far away are other hearts that this day's work will
Among New Hampshire's snowy hills there prays for me
A woman and a little girl with hair like golden
And with that thought broke forth at last, a cry with
That could no longer be repressed, "Oh God, my wife and
Then said the other dying man, across the Georgia
"There watch and wait for me loved ones I'll never see
little girl with dark, bright eyes, each day waits at the door.
father's step and father's kiss will never meet her more."
And then the
soldier in the blue touched hands with the one in gray,
Hampshire's hills and Georgia's plains,
and soon they passed
A Grandson's Answer
Vivid and sad these lines of woe,
I read them through
Out of time, another place,
Would they be me, or
A brave soul dead, two to die,
Each held a righteous
For us here now in selfish times
Would fill our hearts with
The lesson great from those before,
Not in fear or
That freedom bought in blood and toil
grant that we would follow.
Robert Lee Dunaway