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The Colonel's Shield

by Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, 1895

Your picture, slung about my neck
  The day we went afield,
Swung out before the trench;
It caught the eye of rank and file,
  Who knew "The Colonel's Shield."

I thrust it back, and with my men
  (Our General rode ahead)
We stormed the great redoubt,
As if it were an easy thing,
  But rows of us fell dead!

Your picture hanging on my neck,
  Up with my men I rushed;
We made an awful charge:
And then my horse, "The Lady Bess,"
  Dropped, and—my leg was crushed!

The blood of battle in my veins
  (A blue-coat dragged me out),—
But I remembered you;
I kissed your picture—did you know?
  And yelled, "For the redoubt!"

The Twenty-fourth, my scarred old dogs,
  Growled back, "He'll put us through;
We'll take him in our arms:
Our picture there—the girl he loves,
  Shall see what we can do."

The foe was silenced—so were we.
  I lay upon the field,
Among the Twenty-fourth;
Your picture, shattered on my breast,
  Had proved "The Colonel's Shield."

Published in Poems

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