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Civil War Trust

"On the Slain at Chickamauga" by Herman Melville

Herman Melville

Happy are they and charmed in life
Who through long wars arrive unscarred
At peace. To such the wreath be given,
If they unfalteringly have striven--
In honor, as in limb, unmarred.
Let cheerful praise be rife,
And let them live their years at ease,
Musing on brothers who victorious died--
Loved mates whose memory shall ever please.
And yet mischance is honorable too--
Seeming defeat in conflict justified
Whose end to closing eyes is his from view.
The will, that never can relent--
The aim, survivor of the bafflement,
Make this memorial due.

From Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War: Civil War Poems,
by Herman Melville, 1886.

The Battle of Chickamauga
Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863 (Library of Congress)

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