Tuesday, June 02, 2015
One hundred and fifty years ago today, the War Between the States finally ended -- I mean, really ended, at least in the eastern theater. Most of us associate that event with the surrender of General Robert E Lee of the Confederacy to General Ulysses S Grant of the Union at Appomattex Courthouse, Virginia, on the 9th of April in 1865. But news traveled much slower back in those days. Thompson's Brigade surrendered on the 11th of May, Confederate forces of North Georgia surrendered on the 12th, and Kirby Smith surrendered on the 26th, an action that was made official and in writing on this date in 1865.
This writer would have hoped to have shared two stories from that conflict that are of particular and personal import, both of which occurred in 1863. Hopefully this can happen before the end of the year. For now, we present a bittersweet love song that was popular among both the Blue and the Gray.
We loved each other then, Lorena,
Far more than we ever dared to tell;
And what we might have been, Lorena,
Had but our loving prospered well --
But then, 'tis past, the years are gone,
I'll not call up their shadowy forms;
I'll say to them, "Lost years, sleep on!
Sleep on! nor heed life's pelting storms."
Lorena was penned by Rev Henry D L Webster in 1856, in the wake of a broken engagement. It was put to music by his friend Joseph Philbrick Webster. It reminded soldiers on both sides of the conflict about their wives and sweethearts back home, and the heartbreak of never seeing them again. It is performed here by the late banjoist/fiddler John Hartford.