Shiloh

A Requiem (April 1862) Skimming lightly, wheeling still,

The swallows fly low Over the field in clouded days, The forest-field of Shiloh — Over the field where April rain Solaced the parched one stretched in pain Through the pause of night That followed the Sunday fight

Around the church of Shiloh — The church so lone, the log-built one, That echoed to many a parting groan And natural prayer Of dying foemen mingled there — Foemen at morn, but friends at eve —

Fame or country least their care: (What like a bullet can undeceive!)

But now they lie low, While over them the swallows skim, And all is hushed at Shiloh.

The Character Study. Walt Whitman, who tended to and cheered the wounded on both sides during the Civil War, characterized a soldier who suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome in this haunting excerpt:

THE ARTILLERYMAN'S VISION

While my wife at my side lies slumbering, and the wars are over long,

And my head on the pillow rests at home, and the vacant midnight passes, And through the stillness, through the dark, I hear, just hear, the breath of my infant, There in the room as I wake from sleep this vision presses upon me;

The engagement opens there and then in fantasy unreal, The skirmishers begin, they crawl cautiously ahead, I hear the irregular snap! snap! I hear the sounds of the different missiles, the short t-h-t! t-h-t!

The Chronicle. Edward Thomas, English poet and private soldier, wrote this 1917 account, describing the scene and his thoughts on a typical day during war shortly before he was killed in France:

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