Sunday, December 29, 2013

Civil War Sunday - Christmas Bells

As we close out 2013, I ponder whether to continue my Civil War Sunday posts into the New Year.  Like many in the United States/Confederate States of America in December of 1863, I am weary of the war, even if it was fought 150 years ago.

Unlike the people of 1863, I know what is to follow. As horrible a turn as the Civil War took in 1863, it was not going to get any better.

Civil War prison of war camps such as Camp Douglas, Elmira, Ft. Sumter (better known as Andersonville)....The Battle of Ft. Pillow...Spotsylvania Court House and the Bloody Angle....Sherman's March to the Sea. Should I give up, knowing the horrors to come, and leave the writing to the historians and the true Civil War buffs?

What helped me decide? A Christmas carol written in 1863 that I never realized, until this year, had a connection to the Civil War.  The Christmas carol is called "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day".

The poem the song is based on is "Christmas Bells", written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  His son Charles had been seriously wounded in a Civil War skirmish in late November,1863.  This poem is the anguished result. 

Tragedy was no stranger to Longfellow.

Longfellow wrote, in part:
"And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Longfellow could not withdraw from the tragedy of the Civil War, a tragedy that still echoes in our United States 150 years later.

Perhaps, I shouldn't either.  I will keep on going, at least for now, although I may not be able to do a Civil War post every Sunday in January.

And yes, Longfellow's son Charles survived his injuries, and the war.

2 comments:

  1. Longfellow's words express what I'm feeling today. They're so powerful.
    "And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
    If only ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! Some very poignant words here. They're very moving!

    ReplyDelete

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