Under One Blanket.

A poem by James Barron Hope

The sun went down in flame and smoke,
The cold night passed without alarms,
And when the bitter morning broke
Our men stood to their arms.

But not a foe in front was found
After the long and stubborn fight.
The enemy had left the ground
Where we had lain that night.

In hollows where the sun was lost
Unthawed still lay the shining snow,
And on the rugged ground the frost
In slender spears did grow.

Close to us, where our final rush
Was made at closing in of day,
We saw, amid an awful hush,
The rigid shapes of clay:

Things, which but yesterday had life,
And answered to the trumpet's call,
Remained as victims of the strife,
Clods of the Valley all!

Then, the grim detail marched away
A grave from the hard soil to wrench
Wherein should sleep the Blue and Grey
All in a ghastly trench!

A thicket of young pines arose,
Midway upon that frosty ground;
A shelter from the winds and snows,
And by its edge I found

Two stiffened forms, where they had died,
As sculptured marble white and cold,
Lying together side by side
Beneath one blanket's fold.

My heart already touched and sad
The blanket down I gently drew
And saw a sturdy form, well clad
From head to heel in Blue.

Beside him, gaunt from many a fast,
A pale and boyish "rebel" lay,
Free of all pangs of life, at last,
In tattered suit of Grey.

There side by side those soldiers slept
Each for the cause that he thought good,
And bowing down my head I wept
Through human brotherhood.

Oh, sirs! it was a piteous thing
To see how they had vainly tried
With strips of shirts, and bits of string,
To stay life's ebbing tide!

The story told itself aright;
(Print scarce were plainer to the eye)
How they together in the night
Had laid them down to die.

The story told itself, I say,
How smitten by their wounds and cold
They'd nestled close, the Blue and Grey,
Beneath one blanket's fold.

All their poor surgery could do
They did to stop their wounds so deep,
Until at last the Grey and Blue
Like comrades fell asleep.

We dug for them a generous grave,
Under that sombre thicket's lee,
And there we laid the sleeping brave
To wait God's reveille.

That grave by many a tear was graced
From ragged heroes ranged around
As in one blanket they were placed
In consecrated ground.

Aye! consecrated, without flaw,
Because upon that bloody sod,
My soul uplifted stood and saw
Where CHRIST had lately trod!

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