Click on This Link for the Audio Version of
The Drummer Boy of Shiloh" Poem
Tells the story of a drummer boy who met his death in that battle. The details were put in rhyme and set to music by Will Shakespeare Hays, who wrote music for a publishing firm in Louisville. Richard Harwell notes that "the sentimentality of the piece brought it immediate popularity in a period of the war when the folks at home wanted just such outlets for their emotion" (76).
Shiloh's dark and bloody ground,
the dead and wounded lay.
Amongst them was a drummer boy, that beat the drum that day.
A wounded soldier raised him up, His drum was by his side.
He clasped his hands and raised his eyes and prayed before he died:
Look down upon the battle field, Oh Thou, our Heav'nly friend,
Have mercy on our sinful souls.
The soldiers cried, "Amen."
For gather'd round a little group, Each brave man knelt and cried.
They listen'd to the drummer boy who prayed before he died.
"Oh Mother!" said the dying boy, "Look down from Heav'n on me."
Receive me to thy fond embrace, Oh take me home to thee.
I've loved my country as my God, To serve them both I've tried."
He smiled, shook hands.
Death seized the boy who prayed before he died.
Each soldier wept then like a child, Stout hearts were they and brave.
They wrote upon a simple board these words: "This is a guide To those who mourn the drummer boy who prayed before he died."
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