Tags

, , ,

There is an excellent book about everyday life in the Civil War by John D Billings called “Hardtack and Coffee”. In it there is a simply wonderful poem by a Private Miles O’Reilly. It goes:

There are bonds of all sorts in this world of ours,
Fetters of friendship and ties of flowers,
And true lover’s knots, I ween;
The girl and the boy are bound by a kiss,
But there’s never a bond, old friend, like this,
We have drank from the same Canteen!

It was sometimes water, and sometimes milk,
And sometimes apple-jack “fine as silk;”
But whatever the tipple has been
We shared it together in bane or bliss,
And I warm to you, friend, when I think of this,
We drank from the same Canteen!

The rich and great sit down to dine,
They quaff to each other in sparkling wine,
From glasses of crystal and green;
But I guess in their golden potations they miss
The warmth of regard to be found in this,
We drank from the same Canteen!

We have shared our blankets and tents together,
And have marched and fought in all kinds of weather,
And hungry and full we have been;
Had days of battle and days of rest,
But this memory I cling to and love the best,
We drank from the same Canteen!

For when wounded I lay on the center slope,
With my blood flowing fast and so little hope
Upon which my faint spirit could lean;
Oh! then I remember you crawled to my side,
And bleeding so fast it seemed both must have died,
We drank from the same Canteen!

By Private Miles O’Reilly
From “Hardtack and Coffee” written by John D. Billings

About these ads