Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/356

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352 Soutln-ni ///.v/o/v'fv// Scriflii Papers.

Ode to the Confederate Soldiers' Monument in Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, N. C.

Dedicated to the Ladies' Memorial Association, of Wilmington, N. C.

BY GENERAL R. E. COLSTON.

This Ode was delivered at the Anniversary Supper of the 3rd Regiment Association, on May 10, 1872, in reply to the second regular toast:

"OUR DEAD."

Erect upon a granite base

He looks toward the glowing West; How stern and sad his noble face,

How watchful! tho' he stands at rest.

He seems to scan with steadfast gaze

The foeman's dark'ning line of blue; Does he perceive across the haze

The glancing bay'nets flashing through ?

One hand with ev'ry clinched nerve

Grips hard the gun o'er which he bends;

The other hangs in graceful curve

Which rounds the sinewy fingers' ends.

Behold! no carpet-knight is he,

His manly grace is Nature's own; In ev'ry feature one may see

The light that's caught from battle alone.

His garments rough are old and worn,

Hard used the shoes upon his feet, That belt and cartridge-box were borne

In many a victory and retreat.

Upon this soldier's stalwart form

No stars, no bars to mark his grade, And on his modest uniform

Not ev'n an humble worsted braid.

He's but a private! All unknown, He gives his strength, his blood, his life,

Content to fall, obscure, alone, Unheeded in the deadly strife.