Come and sit beside me darling,
While I tell of long ago,
When these gray-haired men were soldiers,
And these grandmas young you know.
In the South were many people,
Who were colored dark as night,
With no chance to grow enlightened,
Not one thing for them was bright.
White men there owned great plantations
Covering many miles of ground,
Where was raised the cane arid cotton.
On each plantation could be found
Huts and hovels, where these negroes
Were obliged to eat and sleep,
When not toiling in the cotton,
Through the Southern summer's heat.
They could not like us be idle
When the heat was most intense,
For o'er them was a cruel master,
Who used great whips for small offense.
No! They dared not leave their labor,
For those great blood-thirsty beasts
Were ready at the master's bidding
To mangle those within their reach.
They could track those helpless mortals,
It mattered not which way they went,
And was sure to find deserters
Very soon, when they sent.
Aged men and little children
Toiled alike from sun to sun.
With no feast nor any comfort,
When their daily work was done.
Bought and sold, just like our horses,
Were these human beings then;
Mothers robbed of tiny infants,
Children bought by cruel men.
"Did colored mothers love their babies,
In that time so long ago?
Why did those wicked men then take them,
Tell me all, I'd like to know."
Yes! Methinks those colored mothers
Had a love akin to mine,
For my children, at my fireside
In the happy evening time.
"Why did God who loves the sparrows,
Let such evils ever be?
Why not cause those wicked planters
To set the colored people free?"
In his own good time he giveth,
That to us which seemeth best,
In his kind and all-wise judgment. Listen while I tell the
Cruel war must break the fetters,
Causing, sorrow, pain land tears,
Bringing death amidst the anguish.
Anguish through four carnal years!
I was but a tiny infant
Calling men to arm for action,
To what end then time must tell.
Every little town and hamlet,
In the North, the East, the West,
Sent the boys to brave the battle,
And cheered them on tho' in the breast
Of each mother, wife, and daughter
Beat a heart all crushed with woe.
Oh! such partings all in sorrow,
In that time so long ag0.
Through winter's cold and summer's heat,
Close to the cannon's breath,
Men fought and fell, 'tis hard to tell
Of the suffering pain and death,
For thousands of those suffering men
Died far away from home,
And sleep tad ay near where they fell;
Their graves are marked, "Unknown."
And others, after years of pain,
Have passed away from view,
Until today our soldier boys
Of years agone, are few.
Those who remain, tho' battle-scarred,
Tho' bent with weight of years,
Deserve the honor dearly bought,
Amid the pain and tears.
And that dear old flag our emblem true,
Which took the lead in war,
Whose colors cheered our boys in blue,
Demands a loud “huzza.”
Our noble leader, he who dared
To face a Nation's wrath,
With words and deeds, led on to right,
Then met a martyr's death.
He too should have in memory's urn;
A place all time to come,
A hallowed spot in every heart.
Our faithful Abraham!
And as we decorate the graves
Of our heroes gone before,
Let's pledge anew our "loyalty"
To our nation evermore.