The Bivouac of the Gray

T. C. Harbaugh


In their silent camps of glory, stretching ever far away,

Sleep the men who live in story, valiant wearers of the gray;

For them now no drums are beating, for them now no bugles blow,

No advance and no retreating, no fierce onsets of the foe.


Some by Rappahannock’s river, some beside the Tennessee;

Side by side they’re camping ever, they who proudly followed Lee.

Where some missing one reposes on the olden battle lines

Bloom the scented, snowy roses in the shadow of the pines.


In the robin-haunted thicket where the autumn leaves are blown

Sleeps the ever-watchful picket in a glory all his own;

And the ring dove coos above him at the gloaming of the day,

For the sake of those who love him in his cerements of gray.


Nevermore for them the rattle of the muskets grim and dread,

Nevermore the horrid battle where the richest blood was shed;

Crown them all with gentle flowers from the meadows and the dell,

They are sleeping through the hours in the land they love so well.


When the last one gently passes to that home so cold and low,

Where the violets and the grasses in their beauty bloom and glow,

Fame will write in words eternal that will other words outshine

For above their bivouac vernal proudly, grandly: “These are mine!”


They will march again in splendor, all transfigured, yet our own,

And each hero, each defender, to his comrades shall be known;

They shall rise again in glory, though they rest beneath the sod,

Gallant men of song and story in the cantons of their God.


From: Confederate Veteran Magazine, Volume XVI, No. 5, May 1908, Page 242