Abram Joseph Ryan
One of my favorite poets of the Civil War was Abram Joseph Ryan. Father Ryan (February 5, 1838 – April 22, 1886) was a Catholic priest and a proponent of the Confederacy. He has been called the “Poet Priest of the South” and the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.” Father Ryan served as a freelance chaplain for Confederate troops, serving at First Manassas, the Battle of Lookout Mountain, the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the Battle of Franklin, and the Battle of Nashville. Below is one of his poems:
CONFEDERATE HEROES C.S.A.
Do we weep for the heroes who died for us,
Who living were true and tried for us,
And dying sleep side by side for us;
That hallowed our land
With the blood they shed in a tide for us?
Ah! fearless on many a day for us,
They stood in front of the fray for us,
And held the foeman at bay for us;
And tears should fall
Fore’er o’er all
Who fell while wearing the Gray for us.
How many a glorious name for us,
How many a story of fame for us
They left: Would it not be a blame for us
If their memories part
From our land and heart,
And wrong to them, and shame for us?
No, no, no, they were brave for us,
And bright were the lives they gave for us;
The land they struggled to save for us
Will not forget
Its warriors yet
Who sleep in so many a grave for us.
On many and many a plain for us
Their blood poured down all in vain for us,
Red, rich, and pure, like a rain for us;
They bleed — we weep,
We live — they sleep,
“All lost,” the only refrain for us.
But their memories e’er shall remain for us,
And their names, bright names, without
stain for us;
The glory they won shall not wane for us,
In legend and lay
Our heroes in Gray
Shall forever live over again for us.