Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Wheatfield                                                                                     

I escaped a New York sweatshop when I signed into the Fighting 69th Infantry.
The Irish brigade shall make me free.
Who knew I’d lose my sacred soul
In the sunshine and the steamy heat, July 2nd of 63

The 69th was drained of blood at Antietam, My brother --dead at Fredricksburg.
Or regiment worn down to just two companies. We marched for days and nights on end
Till our thinned ranks reached Gettysburg.

Yes all the men were tired, and many of us were scared
But we all had faith and brotherhood,
and  don’t forget the Irish blood we shared.

We all clung to this common bond as upon the ground at Rose’s Wood we knelt,
We could see standing on Stony Hill, Chaplain Corby blessing us, but with his absolution, forlorn is what we felt.

In the Wheatfield we saw Sickles’ blue line falter under swarming rebel gray.
T’was up to the Fighting 69th to charge and save the day.

We ran like hell towards heaven’s gate our flank anchored on Devils Den.
We ran as our brothers fell left and right, and took our place in line upon that bloody glen.

Our story now be told, it was the courage of the 69th
that caused that battered Union line to hold.

But too much blood was bled that day, and the 69th too thin.
As mini balls came from left and right, and tore the flesh of the Irish Brigade within.

So slowly, with pride, not with fear but out of common sense,
the 69th reversed its steps, and withdrew to the cover of a wormwood fence.

Over the bodies of our brothers, over the blood soaked once golden wheat
Both now trampled down into this hollowed ground, in Pennsylvania’s stifling heat.

Should you ever visit the Wheatfield, an unimposing trapezoidal plot.
Be sure you go in summer, when it’s humid and it’s hot.

Stand there and envision the 69th  New York  Infantry so grand.
Remember this is where the Irish Brigade, made its glorious stand.

And should you find you shed a tear, when you think of their sacrifice on that field.
Remember they died to make men free, and for our once torn nation… that now… is healed.

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