James M. Dalzell - Autograph Poem Signed 07/04/1920 For SaleTHE CIVIL WAR PRIVATE AND POET GLORIFIES THE SACRIFICES OF UNION FORCES DURING THE CONFLICT
JAMES M. DALZELL. Autograph Poem signed: "J.M. Dalzell" at end and "Private Dalzell" in heading, 2p, 8x10¾, separate sheets. Headed: "The Blue and The Gray, 1867./By Private Dalzell./Music by G.F. Root./Copied in my own hand July 4, 1920 at 82." In full: "II./You may sing of the Blue and the Gray/And mingle their Lines in your rhyme,/But the Blue that we wore in the fray/Is covered with glory sublime./So no more let us hear of the Gray/The symbol of Treason and Shame,/We pierced it with bullets, away!/Or will pierce it with bullets again/(Chorus) Then up with the Blue [word crossed out] and down with the Gray,/And hurrah for the Blue that won us the day!/II.II./Of the Rebels who sleep in the Gray/Our silence is fitting alone/But we cannot afford them a boy/Of sorry, a tear, or a moan,/Let Oblivion seal up their graves/Of Treason, Disgrace and Defeat./Had they triumphed the Blue had been slaves/And the Union was lost in retreat./(Chorus.) Then up with the Blue and/ down with the Gray/And hurrah for the Blue that won us/the day./II.II.II./Of the Rebels whom Mercy still spares/To boast of the traitorous fray/No boy in the Blue thinks or cares/For the struggle is ended today/Let them come as they promised to come/Under Union and Loyalty too./And we'll hail them with fife and/with drum./And forget that they fired on the Blue./Chorus: Then up with the Blue & c/II V./As they carried Your Flag all the way,/Ye Northmen ye promised the Blue,/That ye'd never disgrace with the Gray/Their color so gallant and true/Will ye trace on the leaves of your souls/The Blue and the Gray in one line,/And mingle their hues on the scrolls/Which glorify Victory's shrine/(Chorus/changed) And cheer for the false and hiss/at the true,/And up with the Gray and/down with the Blue./V./Let the Traitors all go, if you may, -/Your heroes would punish the head -/But never confound with the Gray/The Blue, whether living or dead./O remember the price that was paid -/The blood of the brave and the true,/And you never can suffer to fade/The laurels that cover the Blue,/(Chorus) Then up with the Blue/and down with the Gray,/And hurrah for the Blue that won us the day!/[Note by the author]/Young, impetuous, just released from a long and bloody war these verses rushed from my pen as an expression of our feelings at that time. It ran through the press for a whole year, provoking much heated discussion, and resulted the next year in the establishment of Decoration Day. While sectional hate has all left my heart long ago, giving place to a charity that cures a multitude of sins, Yet at 82 Treason is still Treason in my view, the highest of all crimes. I pray God it may never again involve us in War." Written on verso of stationery headed: "Ohio House of Representatives/Columbus". Windowed to show verso. Civil War Private and poet James M. Dalzell (1838-1924) wrote this version of his 1867 poem, "The Blue and the Gray", in 1920 after he had nearly filled his life as a soldier, lawyer, author and a politician, including serving in the Ohio State Legislature. This poem was among published works and publicized memorial activities that inspired Civil War General John A. Logan to designate May 30, 1868 as Decoration Day. Logan, then Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a group of Civil War veterans, issued a general order "for the purpose of...decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country." Dalzell became a member of the Grand Army and initiated the first Civil War soldiers reunion in Caldwell, Ohio on September 15-16, 1874. As chairman, founder and former soldier, he had obtained the sanction and attendance of General William T. Sherman and staff. Following WWI, Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day, and the practice now honors all deceased American servicemen. Dalzell adopted the non de plume of "Private Dalzell" to honor and not forsake the thousands of privates who served in the great conflict with little or no glory for their sacrifices. Likewise, this cause was a catalyst in his efforts to establish the national reunion of soldiers of the Blue and the Gray. For Dalzell, other postwar activities included working as a clerk in Washington, studying for and becoming a lawyer, writing many articles for newspapers, participating in politics and "taking the stump" for political favorites, such as fellow Ohioans, Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) and James A. Garfield (1881). Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Lightly stained at upper left margins and corners. Minor show through of letterhead at lower margin, touching several lines of writing (all legible). Frame is chipped at upper border and lower right corner, light scratch at lower portion. Overall, fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 35x29¾.
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