To The Thirteenth Infantry

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Following is a poem composed and read by Mrs. Kenyon, wife of Captain Kenyon of the old Fighting 13th:

When Sumter fell by traitor hands,
And war-clouds dark hung low,
When anxious hearts prayed for one gleam
Of light to cheer their woe:

When men with patriotic zeal
Sprang to their country’s aid;
And mothers, wives and sweethearts, too,
Upon the altar laid
Their bleeding hearts; (Oh gift most rare)
And bade their loved ones go
Perchance to die, that the dear old flag
Might never be laid low.

Then came the “Boys” of Michigan,
The boys we loved so well;
They bade good-bye to wife and home
None braver fought or fell.

Their deeds are told on many a page;
Their fame will never die;
For Michigan did well her part
And kept her standard high.

And lonely women watched and prayed
For the safe return of all
Who marched away in their suits of blue
To the fife’s shrill notes and the drum’s tattoo
To answer their Country’s call.

Watched and prayed, in their empty homes
Bearing their burdens alone
Waiting and hoping for they knew not what,
‘Till the dreadful strife was done.

And many came not-for many sleep
Under southern sun and dew,
Where gentle zephyrs their requiems sing
‘Neath the bending skies of blue.
So a feeling of sadness over me comes
As I see before me today,
The gallant remnant of the “Old Thirteenth,”
Who marched so bravely away.

Stern war’s grim visage first they met,
On Shiloh’s bloody plain;
“Baptized in fire” at Perryville,
And many a hard campaign.
Then at Stone River’s dreadful charge
A signal victory won;
As through the woods with cheers and yells
You made the “Johnnies” run.

On Mission Ridge, amid the clouds
At Chickamauga’s hell;
Where Hosmer, Hall and Fox were slain
And many brave boys fell.
“With Billy Sherman to the Sea.”
On sweet potato raids;
Through untold hardships bravely born,
And then the grand parades.

Ah, yes ! The last sad battle too,
Where Colonel Eaton fell,
A soldier brave and kind and true,
His comrades loved him well.
But the years are long since the war was done
And your heads are turning to gray,
Yet still you are “Boys” when hand clasps hand.
As you clasp them here today,

And tell o’er and o’er as oft you meet
In loyal Kalamazoo;
To the lads and lassies, who listen to hear
The stories told by you.

Oh, Columbia’s sons and daughters!
Cradled in safety and ease;
Little you know of the treasure and woe
Which brought you the blessing of peace.

Little you know of the long, long march,
Of the nights on picket alone;
When tired and worn, they dared not sleep
‘Till their weary vigil was done.

Then three times three, for the “Old Thirteenth.”
And three times three once more;
Cheers for the Comrades who still survive
And garlands for those gone before.

And three times three for Old Glory too;
Which floats over land and wave
From Northern Lakes to the Southern Gulf;
The flag you helped to save.

Viola A. Kenyon, wife of the late Captain DeWitt C. Kenyon, Co. B, Thirteenth Michigan, V. V. I., Ventura, California.

MLA Source Citation:

Souvenir Roster of the Surviving Members of the 13th Michigan Infantry: Also Short Account of the Forty-Fourth Annual Reunion, Together with Other Interesting Reading Matter for the Members : Kalamazoo, Michigan, February, 1909. Kalamazoo, Mich: Kalamazoo Pub. Co., printers, 1909. Web. 30 January 2015. - Last updated on Jul 29th, 2012

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