Sherman’s Lament

For General William Tecumseh Sherman and soldiers everywhere.

The day over, the battle won.
No joy rests in the victory.
The home front questions tactics,
I’m a soldier accused of barbary

Looking out o’er the battlefield
I see the bodies of fathers, sons and brothers.
Their blood cried out to me from the mud
Like the weeping of wives, sisters and mothers.

I’m but a humble soldier
With a job that must be done.
A country that needs healing,
A war that must be won.

We fight for freedom and glory,
Or so the politicians tell.
But their reasons are all moonshine
This war—all war—is Hell.

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“I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

–Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, May 1865

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